The program is expected to increase monthly bills for Long Beach residents and will come with some big changes, including a third box where residents will have to sort organics or face escalating fines starting in 2024.
The new ordinance brings the city into line with state law, which says every city must create an organic recycling program where things like yard waste and leftover food are diverted to new processing plants for be turned into biofuel instead of creating methane in landfills. .
Long Beach, like other cities, will not receive state funding to implement the program and is still trying to find a suitable site to transport organic waste for treatment, which will likely extend the implementation timeline. from the program. The city has until the end of 2023 to fully comply with the statewide law.
Here’s what you need to know:
Why is Long Beach doing this?
Senate Bill 1383 was enacted in September 2016 and gives every city in the state until January 2022 to put in place rules allowing residential and business customers to separate waste such as yard waste, food scraps, paper products and other organic materials in separate containers. .
The bill is part of an initiative by state officials to reduce California’s methane emissions by 75% by diverting organics from landfills, with donated edible foods and commercial and residential waste to be recycled into organic fuel.
Cities had until early 2022 to pass an ordinance as a first step towards compliance, but it could still take months or years for the city to implement it.
By passing the order on Tuesday, Long Beach protected itself from a fine by CalRecycle, the state agency overseeing the program, for non-compliance. Any fines accrued through 2023 could be waived if the city becomes fully compliant within that calendar year.
How will this affect me?
Your waste bill will probably go up. The city operates on a “cost of service”, which means that it charges its customers based on the price it costs the city to provide a given service. The city will need to purchase tens of thousands of new trash cans and will likely have to buy new trucks and employ more garbage collectors to ensure organic material is transported to processing sites.
There will likely be an upfront charge for the container – at the moment the city thinks it will only add one more container – and your monthly waste bill will increase once a tariff and schedule is established. . Those details, including the amount of the monthly increase and when it will start, have yet to be determined by the city.
The city will have to impose fines on non-compliant commercial and residential accounts for not having separated the organics in the new organics bin. The new order sets the first fine at $ 50 and increases to $ 500 for a fourth offense and beyond.
A number of factors may be considered in imposing a fine, including the seriousness of the breach, the offender’s ability to pay, and whether the breach was due to circumstances beyond the control of the account holder.
Fines for commercial and residential properties will not begin until 2024.
Who receives the fine?
It will be easier to settle for single-family residences because the fine will go to the owner. For apartments and other rented property, it could get more complicated. The account holder with the city could be fined, which in some cases could mean the property management company, tenant or landlord, whoever foots the bill.
Fines can be imposed as a result of a city investigation of complaints from people not complying with the new organic recycling law, route reviews and a city inspection program that could include “surveillance. remote ”for businesses. This could include cameras placed in trash cans, but the city has not determined how its remote surveillance system will be deployed.
Can you unsubscribe?
The short answer is probably no.
The wording of the ordinance will allow some owners of multi-family, commercial and residential dwellings to request a waiver to comply with all or part of the new program if they can prove that they do not have space for an additional container. .
This should be checked by city staff or a licensed engineer, waste hauler or architect. This type of exemption should be rechecked every five years. A spokesperson for Public Works said these waivers would be granted at the city’s sole discretion and there is no guarantee that they will be issued.
The number of households or businesses that may be eligible for this exemption is not currently known.
Business accounts can request a waiver if they can prove that their organic waste production is less than 10 to 20 gallons per week, depending on the amount of solid waste produced by the business per week.
Composting is one option to reduce the amount of organic waste produced by a household or business, but it will not exempt them from having to pay for the service. Composting ignores other organic items like meat, bones, and bread that need to be recycled.
Enrollment in the program will be automatic after its establishment.
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Long Beach to adopt statewide organic recycling mandate, but still not sure how it will comply