By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Manteca will stop dumping contaminated blue carts
manteca council.jpg

If you aren’t adhering to the new City of Manteca recycling rules in place since December, you will not have your blue cart collected starting next month.

Instead if inspections find the blue carts are contaminated they will be tagged and not dumped. If you continue to contaminate the blue carts the city will remove them effectively forcing you to pay to upsize your brown cart that is used for garbage.

Public Works Deputy Director of Public Works Peni Basalusalu, who oversees solid waste, noted the city will be able to enforce the edict thanks to San Joaquin County Conservation Corps crews that have been enlisted to look through the content of blue carts ahead of their collection during recycling weeks to determine if the carts are contaminated.

The city has placed stickers twice now on blue carts advising residents of the new rules and has also done a mass mailing to all customers.

Basaluslau indicated if the effort doesn’t obtain the level of recycling compliance needed staff may need to approach the City Council about imposing fines for violators. Cities that have gone that route impose progressively higher fines for subsequent violations.

Manteca as well as other municipalities around the country have been hit hard by the rapidly changing global market for recyclables coupled with the fact most American collection efforts of recyclable items now has too high of a contamination rate due to more demanding standards by end users. As a result private and public agencies have been burying many items that are recyclable that no longer have a foreign market  while what limited domestic market has been developed so far has the same standards when it comes to contamination that overseas nations have implemented.

Manteca has identified a market for some recyclable items while they work on a long-term solution involving establishing the city’s own sorting facility along with a fiber product based composting operation that could take a number of years to implement.

The importance of getting the blue cart right is critical. The city needs to demonstrate to vendors what they collect are close to zero contamination before they will resume accepting them. If not recycling loads city solid waste trucks collect will go to landfills where it will cost the city $52 a ton to bury them with an average of 600 tons being landfilled a month. Current city solid waste rates do not reflect landfill costs. That means the city at one point could be forced to raise rates if it can’t collect recyclable items that aren’t contaminated.

Among the examples are plastic bottles that can be recycled are those for water, soda, sports drink and juices. Most are California Redemption Value (CRV) containers worth a nickel each and are either No. 1 or No. 2 plastic. They are good to go in the blue carts without removing the caps as are any other No. 1 or No. 2 plastic containers that are used to package items such as food and household cleaning products.

Flattened corrugated cardboard and tin cans can also go into the blue carts.

What isn’t allowed besides garbage and yard waste is items that once were recyclable in Manteca or people thought they were. Those items include Styrofoam, glass bottles, grocery bags, paper plates and cups, foil, paper and magazines, cardboard that is not corrugated such as cereal and shoe boxes, newspapers, and bubble wrap.

Basalusalu staid staff is working on a council directive to fashion a city law for them to consider that would outlaw non-compositing containers for takeout food and possible measures to discourage the use of individual use for coffee and other drinks at various outlets.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email