Recycling Market Development Zone

North Coast

Humboldt and Del Norte counties are located on the northern coast of California in the heart of the redwoods. The Recycling Market Development Zone (RMDZ) encompasses the counties of Del Norte and Humboldt, and the incorporated cities of Trinidad, Blue Lake, Arcata, Eureka, Fortuna, Ferndale, Rio Dell, and Crescent City. The nearest major metropolitan centers are 250 -300 miles to the south (San Francisco) and 400 miles to the north (Portland, Ore.).


The City of Eureka is a designated California Enterprise Zone, which offers credits dealing with hiring, equipment, sales, and personal tax. The North Coast Small Business Resource Center is available to assist with business plan development and targeted business counseling in both Del Norte and Humboldt counties. The Arcata Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) offers a wide range of loans and assistance within Humboldt and Del Norte counties. The Redwood Regional Economic Development Corporation (Humboldt) offers revolving loans. The Del Norte Economic Development Corporation (Del Norte) also offers loans. The cities of Arcata, Fortuna, and Eureka offer similar loans, limited to projects within their respective city limits. Small Business Administration loans are also available through local banks and AEDC. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (Humboldt) and Redwood Coast Energy Authority (Humboldt) offer incentives to commercial businesses for energy efficiency upgrades or energy efficiency incentives for new equipment or new construction.

Employment Incentives

There are a number of incentives available to hire the unemployed or the underemployed in targeted populations. Forest products and the fishing/aquaculture industry, although reduced in size, still play a part in the local industrial base in both counties. Several large dairies (both organic and conventional) are also quite successful, with their products exported throughout the western US. Tourism plays a seasonal but significant part of the local economy in both counties, with numerous state and national parks located in the area.

Humboldt County is known for niche market manufacturers and a creative community of entrepreneurs. There is a California State University campus –Humboldt State University, located in Arcata, making it a year-round employer’s market. Skilled labor in light manufacturing and modest fees for labor training are available through the local community college, College of the Redwoods, located in Eureka, and other local agencies.

Del Norte also has a branch campus of College of the Redwoods, located in Crescent City. The main industries are associated with forest products, fishing, health care, tourism, and Pelican Bay State Prison located north of Crescent City. Del Norte County is also the home to Redwood National and State Parks, and the Smith River National Recreation Area which includes most of the Smith River, the largest undammed watershed in the lower 48 states. More than 75 percent of Del Norte County is public lands, providing unparalleled opportunities for nature-based recreation.

Target Materials

Available feedstock materials for manufacturing include, but are not limited to:

Plastics, construction and demolition waste (gypsum wallboard, carpet and padding, roofing materials), tires, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, textiles, wood, reusable and repairable items, glass, paper, cardboard, electronic waste, and cans.

Presently there is a contract in place for green waste processing in the Eureka/Arcata area from the Humboldt Waste Management Authority's Transfer Station and a project examining the possibilities of anaerobic digestion for food discards.


Highway service is available from State Highways 101, 299, and 199. United Airlines provide daily freight and passenger service from the Arcata/Eureka airport and the Crescent City Airport. Other smaller airports also provide freight service.

Humboldt Bay is the only California deep water port north of San Francisco. A West Coast Marine Highway, M-5, (product transportation along the West Coast using barges) is in a developmental study to regularly accommodate transportation by barge. Development of the port for large freighters and tankers continues to be examined as a possibility but is not a short term shipping option. The public railroad (North Coast Railroad Authority) remains closed due to extensive damage to the rail road line.

Three biomass/wood-fueled power plants are located in Humboldt County, which provides a ready market for wood chips and forest slash generated by logging operations.

There are 10 business parks with buildings and empty lots available (nine in Humboldt, one in Crescent City). In both counties there is an inventory of vacant land presently zoned for commercial and industrial development and a range of sizes of buildings already built for commercial and industrial activity.

In Del Norte County, at the solid waste transfer station in Crescent City, there are five acres available and zoned for commercial or light industrial recycling/reuse development.

Eureka offers ocean access buildings on Humboldt Bay; one site was a recently closed pulp mill using an environmental bleaching process with a deep water dock.

Water: There is an excess of water available for business and industrial development through the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District.


Scott Adair

Director of Economic Development
520 E St
Eureka, CA 95501
Phone: (707) 476-4800
County: Humboldt
CalRecycle Contact: Frank Severson


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Place NamePlace ClassIn Zone

Recycling Market Development Zone Program:
Zone Assistance: Regional Zone Contacts or, (916) 341-6199