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Part of Manteca plan to meet state mandate to divert 75% of organic waste from landfill by 2025
arbage and green waste carts lined up for collection on Daniels Street on Thursday.

There may soon be three City of Manteca solid waste trucks stopping at your home on a weekly basis.

It’s part of the plan for the city to meet a state mandate to divert 75 percent of organic waste from landfills by 2025.

That means the city will have to basically increase its solid waste division manpower and equipment to service residential accounts by upwards of 33 percent.

Currently garbage is collected weekly. Green (organic) waste and recyclables are collected every other week on a rotating basis with green cart collections one week and blue cart collections the next week.

The need for three visits each week from the solid waste department is driven by the fact residential food waste — minus all packaging — to meet the state-imposed mandate will need to be placed in green carts along with lawn clippings trimmings and other organic yard waste.

It will then be taken to a composting facility.

The weekly collection of the green and blue carts would eliminate the need for a fourth cart exclusively for food waste.

It also would minimize any issues such as smell that could become a problem with food waste sitting in green carts for up to two weeks, especially during hot weather.

In researching what other cities have done, Manteca found that the fourth cart for food collection is not effective.

And if Manteca opted to go that route despite the fact residents don’t comply as well, it would still create the need for an additional collection at each household.

It could also help reduce the city’s high contamination rate of 68 percent in the blue recycling carts that render the contents unfit for recycling forcing the city to bury them anyway.

More frequent green and blue cart collections could help reduce residents contaminating other carts by placing overflow in them as opposed to inadvertently making a mistake.


Glass, newspapers,

other paper may soon

be recycled again by city


Manteca’s recycling efforts will soon get a boost if a contract being negotiated  with a Stockton firm pans out to take the city’s newspaper, other types of paper and glass recyclables. When that happens, the city will  once again allow those items to go into the blue carts.

The state mandate to divert organic water from landfills is the driving force behind proposed solid waste rate increases that will be presented to the City Council for adoption in the near future.

*Solid waste trucks now cost $475,000 a pop. The city tries to replace one or two a year of its fleet of 24 plus waste collection vehicles. In order to implement the required organic waste diversion program, Manteca will need to buy a number of trucks all at once to make that happen.

*Not only will stepped up collection require additional manpower, but the cost of the existing workforce in terms of wages and benefits has also been increasing.

*Tipping fees at the landfill on Austin Road have gone up over the years from $24 a ton to $140 a ton.

Increased fuel costs are unlikely to be much of an issue in the rate increase.

That’s because Manteca for the past three years has been refining its own fuel.

They do so with equipment put in place at the wastewater treatment plant to use the methane gas byproduct that is combined with other organic materials to create natural compressed gas.

That CNG gas now powers more than a dozen solid waste trucks — almost half the fleet —  a Manteca transit bus and a vacuum truck used at the solid waste treatment plant.

Manteca was one of the first cities in  the Western United States to put such an endeavor in place that reduces greenhouse gases that would normally be burned off and released into the atmosphere during the wastewater treatment process.

It also means solid waste trucks are burning clean fuel and not oil-based diesel or gas.

Commercial food waste from restaurants, supermarkets, convenience stores, and intuitions such as schools and hospitals, are now being sent to the Lovelace Transfer Station where a massive food separator purchased by the city has been installed.

It separates the packaging from the food.

The food waste is then grinded into a slurry and is currently being taken to a composting operation.

However, as the wastewater treatment facility creating compressed natural gas steps up its output, the food waste  slurry will be trucked there instead of being converted into compost. The packaging is taken to the landfill and buried.

Such a process can’t be used for residential collections as the amount of actual food waste is too small in comparison with the commercial sources making extremely  uneconomical to pursue.

Manteca was able to put the food waste to fuel solution in place because it is a full-service city — a relative rarity in California.

That means not only does Manteca have inhouse police and fire departments but it also doesn’t contract out solid waste collection, wastewater treatment, or water services to private companies.

Manteca is the only city that operates all five municipal services within the three-county Northern San Joaquin Valley region.

While that gives Manteca flexibility, the fact city nearly 30 years ago opted to go to a three cart system while neighboring communities opted for a two-cart or a one-cart system that may help keep estimated costs for the transition to food waste diversion down.

Most cities are now finding out in order to make programs work to meet the state mandate, they need to buy at least one more cart per household.

The carts that are used  typically cost between $100 and $150 apiece.


Primary targets of

state rule is reducing

methane gas, waste


Peni Basalusalu, Manteca’s Solid Waste Deputy Director in charge of solid waste, on Thursday told Manteca Rotarians meeting at the Rendezvous Room that the city plans a stepped up education and information outreach in the coming months.

That effort that will include the city ordering 2-gallon buckets to be distributed to households for the purpose of scrapping food waste into them and then jumping it into the green waste cart.

Senate Bill 1383 adopted in 2020 is designed not only to reduce methane gas emissions from landfills as garbage decomposes but to extend the life of landfills.

A 2017 study indicated California generates 27 million tons of organic waste a year.

Of the waste collected, organic food accounts for 18 percent, paper 18 percent, lumber 12 percent, and other organics 19 percent.

The remaining 33 percent is nonorganic waste.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email