Sustainability Blog

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Talking Trash, Again!

harrison trash cartsIf you’ve been following the news on waste and recycling over the past year or two, you’ll know that there have been some big changes as a result of the loss of China as a recycling market, and new State laws which affect the processing of yard and food waste (organics). Check out our recent articles in our news blog. Like other municipalities in California, these have affected the City of Thousand Oaks.

Last month, City Council passes a new Solid Waste Ordinance which ensures compliance with State regulations, and lays out the rules that govern how trash, recycling materials and organics are handled here in the City. This was discussed in our article last month. Another important recent decision for the Council has been the future of the City’s waste hauling contract, which expires at the end of 2021.

Long-term waste hauling franchise agreements were first entered into by the City in 1994 with residential service provided by three companies, commercial service by two companies, and roll-off service by one. With consolidation happening over the years, today the City is served by two haulers, Waste Management (G.I. Industries) and E .J. Harrison (Newbury Disposal). These two companies serve specific geographic areas with residential service, Waste Management to the east and E.J. Harrison to the west. Commercial service throughout the City is provided exclusively by Waste Management.

At the end of January, City Council voted to issue an RFP (Request For Proposals) for the City’s waste hauling contract. This process provides an opportunity for the current haulers and others to submit their proposals for service, and allows the City to test the market and ensure competitive rates for its residents and businesses. With the new State legislation on organics recycling requirements (AB 1826 and SB 1383), beginning two years from now the new contract will include organics collection for all residents and businesses, additional outreach and education on organics and recycling, and stricter compliance on recycling.

Many of you have long questioned the colors of our residential carts. In Waste Management territory, blue carts are used for trash, grey for recycling and green for yard waste. For E.J. Harrison, green are used for trash, blue for recycling and brown for yard waste. Yes – confusing! These colors pre-date current standards, and also reflect the history of consolidation within the industry. But – good news! With our new contract, cart colors will be standardized throughout the City and reflect State norms – i.e. grey/black for trash, blue for recycling, and green/brown for organics.

Although it will take a couple of years for the transition to take place, we’re looking forward to the opportunity to offer organics collection throughout the City and stay ahead of the curve when it comes to waste processing and recycling.

For more information about solid waste and recycling in the City visit:

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