GUSTINE - The city will be keeping a closer eye of what goes into the garbage bins of large waste generators.

The City Council recently authorized staff to bring in a consultant who will help bring the city into compliance with state law requiring not only the recycling of organic materials by larger generators but regular monitoring and annual reports to the state, City Manager Doug Dunford said.

The requirements apply to businesses which generate four cubic yards or more of waste per week, as well as multi-family residential properties with five or more units.

The regulation stems from state legislation enacted in 2016.

Dunford said organic waste includes items that can be composted, such as green waste and paper products.

The city was to have conducted an outreach campaign to educate the public about recycling as far back as 2012 when it created its own recycling plan, Dunford said, but failed to do so. The 2016 legislation adds a new layer of regulation.

“Now we are moving forward and are going to do it. We have to track (recycling compliance) and have ongoing education. We’re not doing any of that right now,” Dunford commented. “We are not monitoring, educating and tracking what is going on out there (in regard to recycling), but we need to be.”

He said the city will gather information from Gilton, its contract waste collection firm, to determine which customers fall under the state mandate and reach out to help them achieve compliance.

Dunford said city officials will discuss with Gilton the contractual impacts of the program and whether fees might be impacted. City staff will also determine the degree to which the customers involved are already recycling organic materials, he noted. If extensive recycling is already occurring, Dunford said, the exercise becomes largely about monitoring and filing annual reports.

New, properly labeled disposal bins for organic materials will be provided as needed, according to Dunford.

The city’s mandate, he emphasized, is to educate the public about recycling and monitor compliance with the rules for larger waste generators.

“We will be reaching out to schools and will have a lot of recycling education at community events,” Dunford said.

The city must also file annual reports with Cal Recycle, the state’s oversight agency, as required.

Dunford said compliance will be monitored.

“We will do spot checks, and Gilton will let us know if they are picking up things that are not organic,” he explained.

While the requirements at hand focus on commercial entities and multi-family customers, City Attorney Joshua Nelson told the City Council, smaller users may soon feel the impact as well.

“Cal Recycle is working on regulations that would require organic waste recycling for residential customers,” he commented. “That is not included in our contract (with Gilton).”

Nelson concluded said increased user fees will most likely be a by-product of stricter recycling standards in the pipeline.

The city will bring in Halpin Diversion Solutions to help guide the recycling compliance, at a cost not to exceed $20,000.