Principles of Environmental Justice

What is CalRecycle’s Environmental Justice Program?
CalRecycle’s Environmental Justice program benefits all Californians while supporting a healthy environment and economy. The purpose of our program is to ensure environmental justice concepts, values, and objectives are thoroughly implemented within CalRecycle programmatic activities. It is therefore important for us to learn about communities and to share information about CalRecycle resources such as grants and loans, actions such as permits, and programs like solid waste cleanup, electronic waste recycling, the beverage container recycling program, and others. CalRecycle is committed to including individuals, communities, and regulated businesses in the decision-making process.

What is Environmental Justice?
For our purposes, “environmental justice” means the fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes regarding the development, adoption, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.

Why is Environmental Justice Important?
CalRecycle recognizes the varied cultural strengths in California, and we acknowledge the different communication, environmental health, and economic needs within the state, including those of Native Americans and disadvantaged communities. We understand barriers, such as complex government processes and limited English language skills, may hinder full participation in important environmental programs. We also recognize that many Californians live in the midst of multiple sources of pollution, and some people and communities are more vulnerable to the effects of pollution than others.

CalRecycle’s Environmental Justice Objectives

Overall Improvements

  • Increase protection of public health and safety, and the environment, within disadvantaged communities.
  • Expand our awareness of, and services to, Californian’s varied cultures.
  • Address language barriers to best serve communities.
  • Ensure our vision for solid waste recycling infrastructure includes minimizing negative impacts to disadvantaged communities.
  • Increase community knowledge and capacity through environment-based education.
  • Highlight each person’s responsibility to preserve the earth’s natural and cultural resources and to protect equal access, rights, and enjoyment for future generations.

Participation in Decisions

  • Effectively communicate CalRecycle funding opportunities through outreach and education.
  • Provide accessible information about our roles, responsibilities, and rules.
  • Advance opportunities for community members to participate in the decision-making process, prior to the actual point when decisions are being made, so they have a say in decisions that affect their well-being. This includes working with local enforcement agencies, planning departments, cities, and counties for information sharing about local-level decisions


  • Promote wide participation in CalRecycle programs by providing clear information, for businesses and consumers, about reducing waste and increasing reuse, recycling, and composting.
  • Ensure Environmental Justice interests are prioritized in CalRecycle grant funding decisions and other economic opportunities.
  • Continue research that promotes healthier lives and communities.

Our plan and methods for meeting these objectives will be further elaborated on in our Environmental Justice Strategic Plan, Environmental Justice Methodology, and our guide, Connecting Communities to CalRecycle.

For more information contact: Environmental Justice,