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Act trashy, lose your Toters

Misuse Toters and you too can lose blue & green ones

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Act trashy, lose your Toters

Manteca residents who throw trash in their blue or green recycling Toters run the risk of having them seized by the City of Manteca.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED January 27, 2012 12:17 a.m.

Blue and green Toters are starting to disappear from outside homes in Manteca.

And Manteca’s Solid Waste Division Supervisor Rexie LeStrange knows who the culprits are - city workers.

A growing trend of residents tossing garbage in blue and green Toters and contaminating recyclables and green waste is leading to the drastic municipal measure.

Residents get four or five warnings and then the city will seize the blue and green Toters.

LeStrange said a number of Toters have already been yanked. And if any residents continue to contaminate recyclables and green waste more will be taken in the future.

That will leave residents with a big problem  of getting rid of yard waste as well as their recyclables.

What caused the drastic measure has been a recent jump in contamination of recyclables and green waste collected by the city. For years it has been an acceptable 10 percent. Now it has spiked up to 15 percent and is rising.

Contaminated recyclables and contaminated green waste is buried instead. Since Manteca’s recyclables are shipped to a facility at Newby Island in Milpitas, the contaminated recycles the city sends them are buried in a nearby landfill. That costs $80 a ton compared to $40 a ton to landfill items at the county facility the city uses on Austin Road east of Stockton.

“Some of the contamination is understandable; just a lack of education,” LeStrange  noted. “Some of the contamination, I think, is due to the economy.  People have downsized their garbage Toter to reduce costs and now put their extra garbage in the blue and green Toters.”

Repeat offenders caught four or so times after being tagged for contamination end up having their blue and green Toters taken away.

The city is prepared for possible theft of neighbors’ Toters once the blue and green ones are removed. All Toters have numbers that are assigned to specific addresses.

LeStrange noted if offenders who lose their Toters resort to contaminating neighbors’ Toters or even using the green or blue one without their permission for green waste and recyclables, the city may have to pursue an ordinance that would make such offenses fineable.

Currently the city has a law on the books prohibiting people from taking items from Toters once they are placed out for collection.

If the city did not take the steps and disposal costs continued to rise, the city would be forced to come back and raise rates to cover the extra cost. At the same time the increased level of contamination places Manteca at risk of being fined thousands of dollars a day by the state’s solid waste management board for not meeting mandates to divert a set percentage of all waste materials collected within the city limits.

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