Sherryl Parks’ Interview with Asst. City Manager, Mark Delin
Parks: I received the 3-page notice considering the changes in how residents will be billed for our solid waste. When will this new plan be implemented?
Delin: The new program rollout will begin April 1, 2012.
Customers will receive a letter from Coast Waste Management (CWM) informing them of their choices in bin size. There will be a total of four community meetings to inform people of the program and to help them make bin choices.
Parks: What are the key new changes for residents in this new trash contract?
Delin: The largest change is the “pay-as-you-throw” rate structure, where people who generate less solid waste will pay a lower rate. The change to hauler-provided standardized containers for solid waste and recycling is a major change as well. In particular, the change to a single, larger and sealed container for recyclables has been shown to enhance diversion, decrease scavenging, and reduce litter and storm water impacts.
In addition, the new program will replace the annual bulky waste collection event with a three-times-per-year bulky waste collection on a call-in basis. The new contract also offers free twice-annual confidential paper shredding events, and compact fluorescent light bulb drop-off and unwanted pharmaceutical drop-off at these same events. Household battery and old cell phone collection is also provided if placed in a plastic bag on top of the recycling container.
The new contract will also provide the City with funding to perform outreach to the commercial and multifamily sectors to help them increase their recycling rates, and will continue to fund the City’s fuel reduction program, household hazardous waste program, and a portion of street sweeping expenses.
Parks: Do residents need to submit anything to the City to determine the level of service for their homes? When will the sign-ups happen?
Delin: Residents will work directly with Coast Waste Management to select the containers that are right for them. Within 30 to 60 days prior to the start of the new contract, residents are expected to get the first letter from Coast Waste Management.
Parks: I want to confirm that I will be billed ONLY for the trash containers I select? For instance, if I only use one 32-gallon container will I be billed only for that regardless of the number of other containers containing recyclable materials and/or yard waste containers I put out on my curb?
Delin: Customers will be billed based upon the size of the container that they select for solid waste, not on the size of the recycling container. Customers may select a small solid waste container, and a large recycling container and just pay for the solid waste container. Yard waste may be placed out for collection the same as before, but volume is limited to 9 30-gallon containers per week. Customers will use their own yard waste containers.
Parks: May I use my existing bins for recyclable materials and yard waste or will this ‘new’ service provide different containers?
Delin: Yes. However, customers are strongly encouraged to use the new bins for recycling because the larger sizes make recycling easier, thus increasing diversion. In addition, the bins reduce the possibility that paper will blow out and create litter and storm water pollution problems. Customers who are unable to use the new solid waste and recycling containers due to space limitations, or have difficulty managing a wheeled container on a steep driveway, may request to be able to use their existing containers. Note that backyard service is also available for an additional charge.
Parks: How will the providers know if I put trash in the recyclable or yard waste containers?
Delin: Since Coast Waste Management staff will see the material as each bin is dumped, it will be easy for them to tell if the trash is included in the recycling or yard waste containers. Residents or businesses which dispose of solid waste in their recycling or yard waste may be assessed a contamination fee.
Parks: If I have more trash than fits into my selected (say 32 gallons) container what should I do with it? Can I put in my neighbor’s container if they have space and are okay with it?
Delin: When making the decision on how large a container might be needed, residents should consider how much they might put out during a week of heavy generation, such as during the holidays. Residents can always save the waste for the next week.
Parks: Are we required to select at least the minimum size trash container? What if I were a trashless resident; would I still have to pay for the minimum container or would I have no trash collection costs?
Delin: In order to best protect the public health, the City does not offer exceptions to the requirement that all residents subscribe to waste collection service.
Parks: Are ALL the other services mentioned in the mailer (such as bulky waste pick up, document shred event and household battery and cell phone pick up) really free to residents?
Delin: Yes, they are all free to residents.
Parks: Was there any discussion on providing residents of DM an opportunity for an annual toxic waste materials pick-up day, sponsored by Waste Management and open to Del Mar community? Presently we are required to drive up to Poway or Vista to make these donations and that is a long way to drive. Even worse, Poway is open only on Saturdays.
Delin: In addition to the drop-off program for household hazard waste (HHW), Coast Waste Management funds a program for residents in which they can get their HHW picked up for a $10 co-pay. The co-pay is waived for senior citizens and the disabled. Residents should call (800) 714-1195 for a pick-up.