By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
City may waive change out fee for larger carts for two months
TOTERS bototm.jpg
New recycling rules that will force households to place a number of items that once could be tossed into the blue cart into the garbage instead will start being implemented this month.
The move to bar everything but clean corrugated cardboard, California Redemption Value (CRV) containers and No. 1 and No. 2 plastic containers such as those that hold milk is being forced due to changes in the value of recyclables making everything the city collects unsellable requiring it to be landfilled at $52 a ton.
The rule change means things such as newspapers, magazines, paper, plastics such as yogurt and cottage cheese containers, glass, and boxes such as those that food items such as cereal are packaged, other non-corrugated cardboard boxes, as well as corrugated cardboard boxes that aren’t clean including pizza boxes with grease or boxes with excess tape will now go into the brown carts.
City officials expect as many as half of Manteca’s 23,000 household customers may not be able to put what are now “bad recyclables” into their brown cart along with the rest of their garbage.
That would mean they’d need a bigger cart that requires paying a one-time $51.75 change out fee.
Public Works Director Mark Houghton told the City Council Tuesday staff intends to return to the Dec. 4 meeting with a request to temporarily suspend the $51.75 charge for a two-month period allowing residents time to determine if they need larger brown garbage carts.

Larger brown carts
will cost more in
monthly charges
If residents are unable to use their existing brown carts to comply with the new requirements they will need a larger — or an additional cart. Currently the monthly charge for a 32-gallon brown cart is $28.48, a 64-gallon cart is $30.28, and a 96-gallon cart $31.97. To go from a small to medium cart would be an additional $1.80 a month and from the medium to large is $1.69 a month.  If someone went from a small to large cart the monthly increase would be $3.49 a month.
Someone who can’t fit the items that no longer are recyclable in their 96-gallon brown carts would be forced to add a second brown cart. Given it wouldn’t make a sense to get the smallest cart given the cost and volume that means they will see a $30.28 a month jump in their solid waste bill if they add a 64-gallon cart or $31.97 if they add a second 96-gallon cart. The latter would take their monthly solid waste bill from $31.97 to $63.94.
The landfilling of an average of 600 tons of recyclables is costing the city $31,200 a month or $378,400. That expense was not built into the current rate structure as the city never had to pay a recycling firm to take recyclables before.
Councilman Gary Singh asked if staff had looked at the city doing its own sorting of collected recyclables instead of contracting with a firm.
Houghton noted that is among the options now being explored.
That said even if the city ended up sorting its own recyclables based on the current market they would still have to separate the recyclables items that now have no value from the CRVs and corrugated cardboard that have value. An operation that employs 26 workers and uses as much automation as possible in Galt charges $147 a ton to handle recyclables as opposed to $52 a ton to bury them.
Houghton noted it is significantly less expensive to have the what are now “bad recyclables” separated from the “good recyclables” at the source — households — than after it has been collected,
“This is something that is being forced upon us,” noted Councilman Richard Silverman. “We are not doing this by choice to make money or raise revenue.”
Mayor Steve DeBrum noted that while no one is thrilled about the change and the fact if they need to switch to a larger cart will cost them more money, “everything has a cost.”
“I just feel like we are going backward,” Singh said.
He pointed out the city has spent more than 20 years educating residents to recycle and now they will be telling residents not to recycle certain items anymore until such time a domestic market is developed.

Manteca exploring
organic recycling
using green carts
Houghton said the city is looking at an organic-based recycling program where yard waste along with household food waste and paper could be placed into the green cart and used to make compost. The city is far from even being close to determining if that can be done.
Singh said he’d prefer to wait to see if domestic sources for what are now “bad recyclables” developed and if the organic recycling makes sense but added he understood it comes down to money in the form of $378,400 extra the city is now paying annually to bury the recyclables as they are currently collected as they are now considered contaminated with paper, non-cardboard boxes and such mixed in with corrugated cardboard and CRVs.
By implanting recycling changes the city is avoiding the need for an across-the-board rate increase to cover the landfilling of recyclables the city currently collects that would be on top of an adopted  fee hike that is being phased in.
Manteca is in the process of implementing garbage rate increases adopted in 2016 in phases with a price hike each Jan. 1 through 2021.  That would take the 32-gallon rate now at $28.48 a month ultimately up to $30.67 a month by 2021, the 65-gallon rate now at $30.28 a month up to $32.61 by 2021, and the 96-gallon rate now at $31.97 a month up to $34.33 a month by 2021
Houghton noted fliers with the new recycling rules have been mailed with the city’s December utility bills. Morowit suggested the city continue including the handout in monthly bills into 2019.
Starting Dec. 6, Houghton said California Conservation Corps crews will be used to start applying stickers to blue carts placed curbside on collection days that provide a pictorial illustration of what you can recycle and can’t recycle going forward.
Then in February after a grace period of people trying to comply or switching out containers, the CCC crews will be deployed to spot check blue carts. Those not complying will be warned and not have their cart dumped. A second offense would result in the blue cart being removed by the city forcing everything to go into the brown cart.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email