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South County recycling zone grows longer legs

More areas will be eligible for California loans that help recycling businesses, after the Chula Vista City Council voted Tuesday to renew and expand its South San Diego County Recycling Market Development Zone.

These new areas include Coronado, El Cajon, Imperial Beach, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, National City and Santee.

Sections of Imperial County also are now part of the recycling zone, including Brawley, Calipatria, El Centro, Imperial, Holtville, Westmoreland and the county's unincorporated areas.

The Recycling Market Development Zone had already included South San Diego, the county's southern area and Chula Vista, which is the lead agency for South County’s Recycling Market Development Zone.

This council's move also allows for the renaming of the program to the Southern California Border Region Recycling Market Development Zone.

“This program provides low-interest loans for the purchase of equipment and other relevant business costs,” said Lynn France, environmental service program manager for the city of Chula Vista.

France said loans are to be paid back to the state and the amount of each loan is determined by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle).

CalRecycle administers the Recycling Market Development Zone Loan Program to encourage businesses that either make recycled goods or convert recycled materials for the use of building new manufacturing facilities and expanding existing operations.

"The purpose for expanding the boundaries is to increase the available area in which companies that use recycled materials as feedstock for manufacturing are eligible for this recycling program’s incentives," France added.

France said that with more recycling and manufacturing facilities, it would lend itself to more U.S Green Building Council LEED certified buildings.

“LEED construction projects seem to be the standard now, so there is a greater need than ever for recycled materials since they help projects achieve this standard," France said.

California’s Recycling Market Development Zones cover roughly 88,000 square miles from the Oregon border to San Diego. There are two areas in San Diego County that have been designated as zones — South San Diego in 1992, and San Diego’s North County in 1994.

The South County zone was re-designated on March 31, 2003. The state says each zone needs to be updated every 10 years, according to France.

“Recycling is a boutique,” France said. “But the state gets it and they want as many areas as possible to be zoned for recycling.”

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