By Hilary Corrigan
Triplicate staff writer
The old Coasters' song advises against it, but Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority officials want people to talk back about taking "out the papers and the trash."
Last month, the authority extended a 1995 contract with Del Norte Disposal that would have expired in June 2008. The change lets the firm continue to collect garbage in Del Norte County through June 2009.
The authority will soon seek proposals for that service, an estimated 10-year, $30 million franchise.
A task force formed and met last week to review options that the new contract could include. The terms could force all citizens to pay for trash collection service, for instance, or show receipts for hauling waste themselves to the authority's transfer station on Elk Valley Road. The new contract could also include scheduled neighborhood clean-ups or mandated recycling in apartment complexes.
"The door is wide open," said task force member Clarke Moore.
Del Norte Disposal serves about 3,700 homes 550 businesses monthly. Up to 200 customers each day bring trash to the transfer station themselves. About 2,000 homes have signed on for recycling each month.
The average resident now pays about $20 each month for weekly curbside trash collection. That service includes free recycling, with a bin for cans, paper, glass, cardboard and plastic that customers must sign up for. It also includes two annual bulk trash pickups that customers can schedule.
"It's really a good service," said authority Director Kevin Hendrick.
Last fall, the authority contracted Environmental Planning Consultants out of San Jose for $35,000 to review the current franchise and set up a process to seek proposals on the new one.
"See what's working," Hendrick said. "And then look at ways to improve."
The task force holds public meetings each month and will eventually draft a recommendation for the authority board after hosting public workshops in coming months.
Tedd Ward, a program manager with the authority, expects people to get involved.
"We are discussing one of those services that everybody uses," Ward said. "We'll see what develops out of the community input and where they want to take it."
The contract could address more than simple trash collection, though.
Terms could also set rules to divert more waste from landfills and prevent illegal dumping that leaves piles of garbage, appliances, tires and furniture along roads and tucked into forests.
"It's very common," Del Norte Disposal general manager Tom Sparrow said of illegal trash dumping.
He pointed to the region's poverty as a likely reason.
"People can't afford the $31 to get rid of a refrigerator and they find a spot on the side of the road to drop it off," Sparrow said. "Just the scale of economics encourages illegal dumping."
The new contract could offer convenient, inexpensive methods that they will use, Ward said.
And mandating that people either pay for trash collection service or haul their own trash to the transfer station could cut back on illegal trash dumping, Sparrow said.
Officials also aim to steer more trash from landfills. The authority contracts Hambro Waste Solutions Group, a subsidiary of Hambro Forest Products, to operate the transfer station and haul waste to a landfill in Oregon.
The county now falls just shy of a state standard to divert 50 percent of its waste from landfills.
The county could cut it by 75 percent, Sparrow said.
"We could do that here easily," he said. "Food waste composting alone would do it."
Hendrick aims to develop a 5-acre parcel alongside the transfer station into a resource recovery park, hosting new businesses that repair and sell equipment pulled from the trash.
"I'd like to see much more recovery and recycling," Sparrow said.
The new contract offers a chance to improve, Sparrow said.
"The public should say what they want. They should just voice their opinion," Sparrow said. "It's all out there for discussion right now."
What can be Recycled
Aluminum cans Beverage cans and aluminum pet food containers are
accepted at most recycling locations. Aluminum cans usually have a
deposit, which you can collect a Julindra Recycling Center once they have
been emptied and rinsed. Currently, aluminum foil is not recyclable in Del
Norte County, so leave it in your trash.
Corrugated cardboard Only is accepted at the Del Norte County
Transfer Station and Julindra Recycling. Cereal boxes, box board, card
board with glossy finishes or wax coated is not accepted. Flatten all
cardboard and remove excess packaging tape, and any styrofoam, bubble
pack or other packaging. Brown paper shopping bags can be recycled
with your corrugated cardboard, clean shopping bags only. Del Norte
Disposal also provides cardboard collection services to businesses.
Glass Glass bottles and jars, separated by color (clear, green or
brown), are accepted at most recycling locations. Glass beverage
containers usually have a deposit which you can collect at Julindra
Newspapers Newspapers, including the comics and glossy colored
inserts, are accepted at most recycling locations. Do not tie in bundles.
Catalogs and magazines can be recycled with your newspaper.
Plastics Look at the bottom of your plastic containers for a number
inside the triangle. Plastic #1 and #2 are the only plastics accepted at
most recycling locations. In addition to being a #1 or #2, the plastics must
be containers with a screw top and the base must be larger than the
mouth. Plastic beverage bottles usually have a deposit which you can
collect at Julindra Recycling Center. Remove lids, be sure to rinse
the containers out. Plastic shopping bags can be taken to Safeway or
Wal-mart for recycling. Use the recycling box in front of each store.
Plastics #3, #5, #6 and #7 are not yet recyclable in Del Norte.
Tin and steel cans These are accepted at most recycling locations.
Cans need to be rinsed out.
SOURCE: Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority