New state-mandated requirements are calling on municipalities to help reduce California’s organic waste by 75% in the next three years, resulting in changes to how West Side residents and businesses separate their trash and along with it fee increases. 

Just how much of an increase and when it will start remains undetermined.

California disposes approximately 30 million tons of waste in landfills each year, of which more than 30 percent, like green waste and food materials, could be used for compost or mulch. Greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the decomposition of organic wastes in landfills have been identified as a significant source of emissions contributing to global climate change. Senate Bill 1383 calls on municipalities to help reduce California’s organic waste by splitting out organics from the waste stream by either using a third can strictly for food and green materials, or having the waste service separate food and recyclable items from the trash. The regulation will be rolled out gradually for residences and businesses.

Both the cities of Newman and Gustine have yet to make a decision on which way it will meet the new regulation, but a rate increase is expected either way.

“The City of Newman is still in negotiations with our contract provider Bertolotti Disposal,” said Newman City Manager Michael Holland. “Based upon conversation, it is anticipated that a third can, picked up weekly, will be added to the service.  Since we already have green waste curb-side pick-up scheduled through March, we are anticipating an April 1 start.  There will be a rate increase associated with the increase in service.  However, we are still working through that component.”

Gustine City Manager Doug Dunford said the city is sending out a request for proposal on Jan. 5 to deal with the city’s waste regulations. Once those come in and are reviewed, the City Council will make a determination is Gustine will use a third can option or pay for the sorting service.

SB 1383 also requires large businesses and corporations to participate in an edible food recovery program to donate surplus food — a requirement which will go into effect Jan. 1, 2022 for large grocery stores and supermarkets, and Jan. 1 2024, for large restaurants and other large food providers.

There will be fines for residents and businesses who don’t comply and for the cities if it doesn’t enforce the new requirements, however, those fines won’t begin until 2024. Until then, cities and CalRecycle will be focusing on education.

Raising the garbage rates will require the city to go through a Prop. 218 election which gives voters the opportunity to oppose the increases.