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Newport Beach to Begin State-Mandated Organic Waste Recycling in 2022

The City is updating its trash and recycling service contracts to meet new state mandates for organics recycling. Here are some frequently asked questions about the changes Newport Beach residents will see in the coming year. 

How will new state laws impact trash and recycling pickup in Newport Beach?
California state law requires that every household, business, and multi-family property recycle their organic waste by Jan. 1, 2022. Organic waste includes food waste, landscape trimmings such as leaves, grass, and branches, and compostable paper products. These requirements are mandated for all California cities.

What state law is requiring organics recycling?
In 2016, then-Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law SB 1383, which established a series of targets to divert organic waste from landfills. SB 1383 set a goal of 50 percent reduction in statewide organics disposal by 2020, and a 75 percent reduction by 2025. The bill also set goals aimed at reducing the amount of edible food disposed into trash/landfills. SB 1383 regulations go into effect in 2022.

How does this help the environment?
Organic waste can be recycled into compost and mulch, and used to produce renewable natural gas. Diverting green waste also reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. According to state studies, organic waste in landfills emits 20 percent of California’s methane gas, a climate super pollutant 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and air pollutants like PM 2.5, which contributes to health conditions like asthma. Diverting organic waste significantly reduces the volume of waste being transported to landfills.

Will Newport Beach residents have to separate their trash, recycling, and organic waste?
Yes. To meet the state requirements, Newport Beach’s contractor, CR&R, will need to utilize separate trash, recycling, and organic waste collection containers.  Residents will be asked to separate trash, recycling, and organic waste into three different carts.

What about areas of the City with small streets and alleys?
Some neighborhoods in Newport Beach have constrained street and curb space which may pose difficulties for the three-can system. The City and CR&R will be developing specialized solutions for these neighborhoods, such as smaller cart sizes where applicable, and specialized collection trucks to better accommodate the organics program. The City will strive to make the program as convenient for residents as possible, but it will require some behavioral changes to be successful.

Should residents expect to pay more for recycling services?
Newport Beach residents do not pay directly for trash pickup. However, residents do pay a recycling fee to partially offset costs for state mandated recycling programs. On March 23, the City will host a public hearing to give residents an opportunity to comment on a proposed fee increase to partially offset the additional costs of organic recycling. Under the proposal, most recycling fees per household would increase from $3 a month to $6.28 a month. Households in the Newport Coast area, which do not currently pay a recycling fee, would pay $5.86 per month.

Why don’t Newport Coast residents currently pay a recycling fee?
The Newport Coast area was annexed to the City of Newport Beach in 2002. The requirement to pay the City recycling service fee was not included in the annexation agreement at that time.  Since the 2002 annexation, the City has been absorbing the added state recycling cost for the Newport Coast area. However, as recycling requirements from the state have become more stringent, recycling costs to the City have increased significantly. As a result the City Council is now considering a recycling fee of $5.86 a month for Newport Coast households to partially offset the increased costs to the City’s general fund.

Why are there different recycling fees proposed for Newport Coast and the rest of Newport Beach?
When Newport Coast was annexed from the County, the residential refuse contract was negotiated separately from the rest of the City, thus the City currently has two residential refuse collection contracts. The City is now looking to combine these two collection contracts so as to have one contract (and contractor) responsible for all the residential refuse collection.  It is likely that in the future, the recycling fee will be revised to be consistent throughout Newport Beach.

Where can I find the analysis behind the proposed recycling fee increase?
MGT Financial Services, a City consultant, recently conducted a financial analysis of the recycling fees. A copy of the report can be found on the City’s website at Recycling Service Fee Study.

When will the public hearing on the proposed fee increase take place?
The City Council will hear public input on the proposal on March 23, 2021, in the Council Chambers.

How can residents comment on the proposed fee increase?
Residents may speak on the proposal at the March 23 public hearing. However, to make an official protest, it must be in writing, and must:

  • State specifically that the protest is in opposition to the increased recycling service fee rate;
  • Provide the location of the residence (by address or assessor’s parcel number);
  • Include the name and signature of the property owner of the property.

All protests must be submitted to the City Clerk prior to the close of the Public Hearing at 6:30 p.m. on March 23, 2021, at City Hall.

The market for recyclable materials has been declining in recent years. Why are residents being asked to separate recyclable materials now?
Separation of recyclable materials provides cleaner material and is a preferred method to achieve compliance with state regulations. This type of program directly diverts the material from landfills, and the cleaner material has a better chance of being sold as a commodity with a stronger market value. Although the price of some materials has declined slightly in recent years, the recycling market has been on an upswing at the start of 2021. Domestic mills have made greater investments into paper and cardboard recycling, due to changes in China’s environmental policies, and are purchasing more cardboard and paper material. Also, as the commercial waste stream has been reduced because of COVID-19 restrictions, the residential waste stream has increased in importance. There has been a renewed interest in #5 polypropylene (plastic) material, as higher oil prices have increased the cost of virgin plastic material used to produce new plastic bottles. While the market for recyclables fluctuates, the separation of recyclable materials helps ensure that the materials are clean, resold for the highest possible price in the current market, and diverted from landfills.

Where can I get more information?
Please click here for more information on residential recycling.

 

 

 

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