Local solid waste officials today will discuss nine proposed options for curtailing the amount of trash in Del Norte County’s recycling stream.
The Del Norte County Solid Waste Management Authority will also hear from a representative of Recology Del Norte on how their costs have changed due to the different ways materials are being processed, according to DNSWMA Director Tedd Ward.
Ward said the solid waste board will discuss and review the proposed options, but will probably not take action on them until its meeting in September.
“What we’re looking for at this meeting, the board will affirm that we still have this 10 percent contamination target and we’re not very close to that and we need to take action,” Ward said.
The proposed options the Solid Waste Authority will weigh in on include increased enforcement, offering incentives; offering street-side recycling for beverage containers only; eliminating community drop-off bins; instituting a 60-gallon trash cart minimum for households of 4 or more; restructuring rates; instituting a 90-gallon trash cart for all customers; and instituting mandatory collection service.
Ward pointed out members of the Solid Waste Management Authority have already discussed, and dismissed, several of the proposed options. However one new option, proposed by the authority chair, Crescent City Mayor Blake Inscore, would issue bags for those whose trash carts overflow and automatically bump customers to a 60-gallon trash cart if trash is found in their recycling containers, Ward said.
Ward called this option a soft transition to instituting a larger standard trash cart size for curbside collection service.
“If adopted there would be some mechanism by which customers are issued bags,” Ward said. “They have them in hand if they have too much trash to fit into their trash bin. There would be one extra charge, but it wouldn’t be the same as the charge for the next size cart. It sort of gives an overflow option that wouldn’t be adding to our contamination problem.”
If this option is adopted, those who continue to put trash in their recycling bin would receive a warning, Ward said. If they persist, they would be automatically bumped to a 60-gallon cart from that point forward, he said.
“Not everybody would be bumped to a 60 gallon trash cart, but those people who are continuing to have a problem, this would bump them to a standard 60 gallon cart,” Ward said.
According to the staff report, this option would require curbside collectors to get out of their trucks to monitor recycling bins, which would be an additional expense.
The Solid Waste Management Authority has been discussing ways to reduce the amount of trash in the recycling stream to the industry standard of 10 percent since Julindra Recycling stopped accepting local material for processing in late 2016.
The authority has established two ad-hoc committees dedicated to solving the problem, held a town-hall meeting in May 2017 to take input from the public, removed community recycling bins from an unmanned location at the Del Norte County fairgrounds to the Del Norte County transfer station and banned opaque plastic bags from curbside recycling containers.
However in a letter to Ward dated Aug. 9, Recology Del Norte General Manager Jeremy Herber states the level of contamination in the recycling streams is currently 13-18 percent depending on the locations served during the week. Herber states Recology is seeing contamination levels decrease in some curbside collection areas. Commercial collection routes have improved the most, according to Herber.
The area with the highest level of garbage is the community recycling bin in Smith River, which has a contamination level of 20 percent to 40 percent, according to Herber.
Other items on the Solid Waste Management Authority’s agenda include a potential request for proposals for professional services to identify and assess potential properties for a transfer station in the northern part of Del Norte County.
The Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority meets at 3:30 p.m. today at the Flynn Center, 981 H St., Crescent City. Agendas can be found at www.recycledelnorte.ca.gov.