No, neither AB 341 nor the proposed regulation includes a rural exemption. The regulation is designed to provide flexibility to jurisdictions to design programs that fit their needs. The proposed regulation in Section 18838 does state that CalRecycle may consider factors for rural jurisdictions in its evaluation of a jurisdiction’s good-faith effort to implement diversion programs. Factors for rural jurisdictions include small geographic size, low population density, and/or distance to markets. The Initial Statement of Reasons also provides guidance to rural jurisdictions on commercial recycling education, outreach, and monitoring programs.
In terms of providing education and outreach, rural jurisdictions could include information (i.e., about the state requirement for businesses to recycle and how businesses can recycle in the rural jurisdiction) using an annual letter to businesses for business license renewals. For jurisdictions that do not have staff and/or a hauler to ascertain which businesses are not recycling, then an annual letter would suffice. The letter could be sent electronically or by hard copy depending upon the rural jurisdiction’s situation.