Mark Strait had been a roofer for 13 years when he hit upon the idea of manufacturing his own roof tiles made partially out of recycled material.
But the 33-year-old Simi Valley man said he was hesitant about pursuing his idea because of "all the government stuff you have to go through when you open a business."
A new state program that gets its official kickoff today at the Port of Hueneme, is aimed at helping entrepreneurs such as Strait. State and county officials will unveil the program, which offers incentives for businesses to manufacture goods out of recycled materials.
Ventura County businesses that locate within a designated "recycling market development zone" may qualify for low-interest loans, technical assistance and access to a network of possible investors to help get the company off the ground. Manufacturers who create products made from at least 50% recycled material may also qualify for state tax credits under the program.
The Ventura County zone, which includes portions of Simi Valley, Camarillo, Oxnard and a strip of unincorporated land connecting the three cities, is one of 17 created throughout the state to stimulate a market for recycled trash, said David Goldstein, waste management analyst for the Ventura County Solid Waste Management Department.
California currently generates 44 million tons of waste every year and diverts 11.7% of it through recycling, according to the state's Integrated Waste Management Board. Cities and counties are required to reduce their waste by 25% by 1995 and by 50% of current levels by 2000. The incentive program seeks to create a new market for the expected glut of recycled materials, Goldstein said.
The program will be administered locally by the county's Solid Waste Management Department. Other than the manager's salary, which could be as much as $46,000 a year, the costs to the county are minimal, Goldstein said.