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Manteca yanks blue, green Toters
TOTERS1 2-6-11
Manteca is scrambling to replenish Toter inventory that has been depleted due to strong housing growth. This photo of Toters in the Wetmore Street solid waste yard was taken in 2014. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

A small but growing number of Manteca residents are singing the blues because their efforts not to pay more green by continually placing garbage in Toters that aren’t brown backfire.

The City of Manteca is pulling blue recycling Toters and green yard waste Toters from residential customers who are consistently dumping garbage in them in a bid to avoid paying more for a larger brown Toter. The city’s monthly garbage rates are based on the size of the brown Toters you have — $18.10 for 32 gallons, $22.82 for 64 gallons and $28.99 for 96 gallons.

“We are still having some issues with people contaminating their recycling (blue) or green waste (green waste) carts,” noted Rexie LeStrange of the City of Manteca’s solid waste division “They want the smallest trash can because it’s the cheapest price. So they supplement their trash needs by using their blue and green cans.  When this happens too often, we pull their blue and green cans.  They are not happy about that but it keeps our contamination levels real low, which is where we like them.”

If truckloads of recyclable materials or green waste have too much contamination from garbage, the loads have to be landfilled instead costing significantly more money. One reason Manteca has been able to keep rates the same since 2004 is city workers’ efforts to keep contamination low as well as devising various efficiencies from how truck routes are organized to switching to greener operations such as the effort now underway to convert food waste to fuel to power garbage collection trucks.

Seventeen years ago, a driver could collect from 450 homes during his shift. Now they average more than 900 homes per shift. A lot of that has to do with the switch to hydraulic arms that are more efficient and reduce the need to climb out of trucks to do old school dumping or to reposition Toters so they can be picked up.

The recent shift to trucking garbage to the transfer station on Lovelace Road just off Union Road north of Manteca as opposed to the Austin Road landfill is saving wear and tear as well as allowing even more homes to be collected per truck. That’s because less travel time to get rid of the load is translating into more time collecting garbage.

Even so, Manteca is struggling to keep up with the demand growth cerates.

Solid waste actually ran out of new Toters in June after the annual pace of home construction shot up from 300 to 508. New residents have had to wait for several months to get the right sized Toters.

“We are getting our inventory back up to par soon so we will be back up and running normally again,” LeStrange said.

The city has also seen a significant drop off in scavengers dumping trash in residential neighborhoods searching for recyclable bottles and cans that are worth a nickel apiece in redemption value.

“The complaints seem to have died down although we still have scavengers going thru them every recycle week,” LeStrange said. “Our drivers see them and run them off or tell them ‘it’s fine go through them but don’t make a mess’.”  

The city has had a few issues with scavengers hitting commercial bins and dumping them upside down making huge messes. They are trash containers that are being dumped over and not recycling containers.

In some instances they may be looking for food that has been tossed. But as Manteca moves to food waste collection from all major sources such as restaurants, grocery stores, and schools they are issuing locked bins in order to keep pest and other issues at bay. As a result, the day will come soon when rummaging through bins outside of the FESM or MRPS halls after a benefit dinner will result in no retrievable leftover food.

Few if any cities offer all of what Manteca does for its residents. The city has kept rates unchanged despite offering a variety of services at no charge that no other city in the region does.

Those services include:

ufree annual use of a 2-yard city trash bin for excess trash.

uthree tags a year that allow you to place an extra 32-gallon tied garbage bag next to your Brown Toter for free pickup. Many residents use them around the holidays or when they have large parties.

ufree shredding at least once a year of documents to deter identity theft.

ufree recycling of electronic waste.

ufree collection of medical sharps.

ufree Christmas tree pickup along with leaf collection.

The city also will trade out blue Toters for larger sizes at no charge if you are unable to fit all of your recyclables into your current blue Toter.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email