Reaction to CSD waste story
The other day we wrote about the Community Services District receiving an annual report from the company that handles its waste disposal. The story prompted a response from Mark Oldfield, communications director for the state Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery.
Oldfield felt the story was inaccurate. We went back to Jack Fiori, an executive with California Waste Recovery Systems, the company that handles Rancho Murieta’s waste, to ask if we had gotten something wrong. Fiori said he felt the story was an accurate summary of what was said at the meeting, recognizing that it didn't cover every point he made.
We asked Oldfield to explain, which he did by annotating the story. We asked Fiori to react, which he did with his own annotations.
If you're interested, you can read it all below. Oldfield's comments are in red; Fiori's are in blue.
The original story is in the black text.
The community will have to get inventive to meet state goals for diverting recyclable materials by 2020, the Community Services District board was told last week.
The community is not required to meet this state goal. More on that below.
This is an interesting comment; although local jurisdictions will not be individually subject to the new goal, their efforts (or lack thereof) are directly linked to whether or not the goal will be achieved, so encouraging them to remain diligent about recycling and to try harder to not dispose of what should be recycled, seems like a worthwhile message.
Jack Fiori of California Waste Recovery Systems, the company that handles Rancho Murieta’s waste disposal, presented his annual report at the CSD’s meeting Wednesday.
The collection services contract between California Waste Recovery Systems and Rancho Murieta Community Services District includes a provision requiring Cal-Waste to prepare and submit an annual diversion report to the Board of Directors for the residential collection services we provide. This report is required to summarize the tons of solid waste disposed, as well as the tons of materials recycled or otherwise diverted from disposal.
Last year, 48 percent of the community's refuse was thrown away in green waste and recyclable containers, Fiori said. In recent years, this number, called the diversion rate, has bumped around in the high 40s, just below the state target of 50 percent.
Since 2007, jurisdictions are not required to meet a 50-percent diversion rate. Rather, communities have specific disposal targets on a pounds-per-person, per-day metric. Why the change? Disposal is much easier to measure than diversion. Rancho Murieta, however, is not a jurisdiction that is individually required to meet the target since it is part of a collection of jurisdictions that fall under the umbrella of "Sacramento Unincorporated," which collectively is supposed to be below the disposal target. And as I noted in my message, the collective group of communities to which RM belongs is well below the target.
Our Collection Services Contract with the Rancho Murieta Community Services District contains a provision specifically regarding diversion reporting. In my PowerPoint presentation to the Board, the very first slide I showed them is the recap of the Unincorporated Sacramento County PPD target and actual results. Each year I remind the Board that the RM tonnages are reported to the County and are an element of the unincorporated Sacramento County result. But with RM being less than 1% of the PPD result and making a very little impact county-wide, motivating anyone to keep up the good work or try harder with that report alone is difficult.
After that slide, my next slide showed the most recent 7 years of trash tons, recyclables tons, and greenwaste tons collected by Cal-Waste. This year-over-year comparison is an easy and consistent method that illustrates to the Board the disposal and diversion habits of RM residents. This is also a good place for me to share diversion and disposal habits we see in other communities that we service and can offer as a comparison to RM, along with any updates from the County or the State. Last year I reported that a then-recent CalRecycle State of Recycling report said that “Fewer than five percent of jurisdictions have NOT met their per capita disposal targets. Most jurisdictions are well below their disposal target.”
But Fiori said the state target will climb to 75 percent in 2020, prompting Director Jerry Pasek to suggest that one problem is gardeners who work in Rancho Murieta and haul away green waste, depriving the community of that piece of the diversion measurement.
This is not accurate - it conflates the diversion mandate of AB 939 (the Integrated Waste Management Act of 1989) with the 75 percent goal of AB 341 (statutes of 2012). AB 341 created a statewide goal to recycle and/or compost 75 percent of waste by 2020, but it is not a goal local jurisdictions are subject to individually. And some of the data for determining this "recycling rate" is different than data used to determine "diversion." For instance, alternative daily cover (such as green waste) at landfills counts toward "diversion," but would not be counted as "recycling." The 75 percent is a goal for the entire state combined, and the disposal rate (per-person, per-day) I mention above remains the metric jurisdictions are subject to, even in 2020.
I disagree that this is not accurate; Mr. Pasek’s comment was fully accurate given the context of the discussion we were having in reviewing year-over-year comparisons of the tons collected of each commodity (trash, recyclables, greenwaste). I mentioned that the average pounds per week of greenwaste collected in Galt was about 10% higher than the same measurement in RM. I did explain to the Board that CalRecycle’s method of measuring is changing again. I also explained that ADC ceases to count in 2020.
Another answer is an effort to get recyclables out of the trash can and into the recycling bin, Fiori said. Recyclables are paper and cardboard, plastics, cans and glass. For more specifics, you can see Cal Waste's list of acceptable items here.
Trying to boost the recyclable numbers, Fiori said his company is experimenting with larger recycling containers in other communities – 96 gallons instead of the 64 we have now. “It’s really too early to say it’s a roaring success, but it’s helping,” he said. The company is also experimenting with a different rate structure, he said, where you pay more if you throw away more.
Rancho Murieta households average 31 pounds of trash per week, Fiori said. The number has barely changed since 2010. The recyclables measure has been stuck between 10 and 12 pounds per week in that time, the presentation showed.