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By Pat Doody 

Mandatory commercial recycling

Tehachapi City Council Update


Pat Doody

Waste Management's Sandra Pursley talks to City Council.

Assistant to the City Manager, Corey Costelloe, outlined a new mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling program at the April 16 Tehachapi City Council meeting. The program is the result of the 2016 California Assembly Bill 1826 requiring mandatory organic waste collection from businesses and multifamily properties. Organic waste refers to food waste, green waste, landscape and pruning waste, nonhazardous wood waste and food-soiled paper waste that is mixed with food waste.

From January 2016 to January 2019 only businesses generating over four cubic yards of organic waste per week were required to arrange for organic pick up services. As all the businesses in Tehachapi that generate that amount of organic waste per week had already established collection programs through their corporate partners, there was no need for the City to establish one. However, the City received notification from the Mandatory Organics Recycling (MORe) and CalRecycle that as of January 1, 2019 the threshold for requiring organic waste collection changes to those businesses generating four cubic yards of mixed solid waste (trash). This means that 83 City of Tehachapi businesses will be required to subscribe to such a service and the City will need to supply it.

Currently Waste Management does not have an agreement with the City for this service but, in an effort to be proactive and avoid a compliance order, the City asked Waste Management to develop a plan for its addition. Waste Management submitted the plan to CalRecycle in February 2018. The plan was accepted in March. The plan includes collection of organic waste at businesses within the City, transfer to the Tehachapi landfill where Waste Management will sort the material before sending it to the compost facility in Bakersfield. Waste Management proposes a 3.10% commercial rate increase for the service. Each business will receive a 64 gallon cart to be picked up weekly. If needed, more carts will be available at the rate of $9.50 per month. The rate increase and service will take effect on July 1, 2018 and will affect only commercial customers within the City.

Sandra Pursley from Waste Management was on hand at the Council meeting to answer any questions. Prior to implementation, Waste Management will be holding a workshop for business and multifamily property representatives to explain the requirements of AB1826. They will also be doing face-to-face visits with businesses which will include a visual inspection of the waste stream, explain the regulations and service options, and distribute educational materials. A website will be set up specifically for commercial customers and will be available for download to mobile devices.


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