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City Council Working with California Waste Recovery on Commercial Waste Rates

Post Date:06/11/2019 11:38 AM

In September 2018, the City entered into a new Franchise Agreement (“Agreement”) with California Waste Recovery Systems (“CalWaste”) for residential and commercial trash, recycling and organic materials processing.

The agreement is a long term framework that is designed to meet the strict requirements of state law and achieve a recycling rate of 50% by 2020, and 75% by 2025. State mandated recycling progress targets must be met between 2020 and 2025, or cities like Galt will face compliance orders and fines from the California Department of Recycling (“CalRecycle”). The term of the Agreement recognizes the significant investment in equipment and infrastructure that CalWaste must make to achieve these mandates.

Essentially, state law mandates that 75% of all the trash we generate in California must be diverted from landfills and instead be recycled. It is an unfortunate fact that the cost of recycling plastics and organics is many times greater than simply taking these materials to landfills.

Of particular concern is the cost associated with mandatory commercial recycling. State law mandates that every commercial business now recycle materials generated at their businesses, including food waste.

The cost of providing these programs is expensive because they must be processed (recycled) at separate facilities. As the January 1, 2020 deadline to have mandatory recycling programs in place approaches, more and more cities and counties will see cost increases associated with programs they implement to be in compliance with state laws. The cost impact to businesses will vary from city to city, depending on the number of businesses. Unfortunately, the number of businesses in Galt is small, which results in higher costs when total costs are divided and converted into service rates.

Galt’s commercial businesses are facing very significant cost increases as our local recycling programs are implemented. The City Council is very concerned about these costs, the impact of the rates on local businesses and recognizes the importance of successful businesses to the Galt economy. As a result of extreme frustrations expressed to the City Council over these cost increases, the City Council has been working with staff and CalWaste to determine if any measure of rate relief can be achieved while still meeting the requirements of California law.

Meetings and analysis of the rate structure, including evaluation of the experiences of the program roll-out, are currently underway. Both the City Council and CalWaste are working cooperatively and expeditiously to determine if any manner of rate relief can be realized.

Currently, recycling and organics rates are intentionally priced lower than regular trash to incentivize diversion. Commercial businesses can significantly reduce the effect of these rate increases by implementing recycling at their business that separates out recyclable materials and food waste in favor of reducing the size of the trash container and frequency of collection. Businesses can contact CalWaste at 209.369.6887, or City staff at 209.366.7260 with any questions relative to meeting these state mandated recycling goals, or to request a waste audit of your service to reduce your costs.

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