Tag Archives: SB 1383

SB 1383: Why should we pay for the privilege of sorting our food and yard waste when they turn around and sell it?

11 Apr

NOTE: After I made this post below yesterday, I received my garbage bill. The enclosed notice says we shouldn’t be putting our food waste in our yard bins yet because they haven’t figured out where they will take it. I believe that notice is months old, I believe they’ve been in negotiations with Republic for a while now. Why else would Republic have sunk so much money into this deal? So, get ready for an “education” campaign.

Earlier this year, Waste Management started sending us notices that we would be required to sort our “food waste” into our yard waste bins. They cited greenhouse gases and global warming, but the real reason is in the money. Here’s an interesting article about how the rendering plant out on Hwy 99 has opened a new business – harvesting energy from food waste.


What a child I am – I thought they wanted to make high-grade compost out of it, like the stuff they currently sell out of the Chico green waste yard. No, they have much bigger plans.

“The organics space, it’s growing so rapidly, especially in California. Right now every city, every jurisdiction is getting a lot of pressure to roll out these programs,” Chris Seneydirector of organics operations at Republic, said. “It’s an exciting time to be in organics.”

Yes, they are also getting food and yard waste from Chico customers. All sorted out by us, it is now a product they will sell. But, they want us to pay an extra $5+/month for the bin we’re supposed to use to sort it. What? Laura Dougherty at Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association explains – they expect the customer to foot the cost for the transition.

Through SB 1383, the State mandated that local governments help reduce greenhouse gases by changing residents’ trash removal procedures at home. This generally involves keeping organic material separate from the gray bin waste destined for the landfill. In some jurisdictions, this organic kitchen waste can be commingled with yard waste in the green bin because it will all be composted together. In other jurisdictions, organic kitchen waste must be specially bagged and composted separately. In still other jurisdictions, customers have received or will receive a new bin solely for organic kitchen waste, increasing the cost of trash service to purchase and empty additional bins. In order to cover the cost of creating new collection and composting systems, rates in many jurisdictions are increasing.

Why doesn’t the State pay for the higher costs if the State is the one requiring the transition to expanded composting? Good question. Unfortunately for ratepayers, and conveniently for the State, SB 1383 is not a reimbursable state mandate, so your local government cannot be reimbursed for increased program costs by the Commission on State Mandates. In fact, SB 1383 cites portions of the Constitution and the Government Code declaring that if user fees can recover the new costs imposed by the State, the State does not have to reimburse your city, county or district. Of course, the user is you.

Here this guy from Republic is gleefully rubbing his hands together, thinking about all the money his company is going to make, the taxpayers having foot the bill for all the upgrades. And now we still have to pay to have it picked up.

Well, guess what, there’s an exemption to the yard waste bin – you can compost it in your own yard. I compost along my back fence, 4 x 4 piles, and it’s dirt within 8 – 10 months, ready to go back to my flower and vegetable garden.

So, if you are exempt from the yard waste bin, why bother with a 96 gal can for your table scraps? You have a yard? Dig a hole, about a foot in circumference, make it as deep as you can. Go to Home Depot and get a new Homer bucket with fitted lid. Cut the bottom out with a sawzall. Stick the bottom end in the hole about halfway, tamp it down so it will stand in there, and voila – you have yourself an anaerobic food processor. I’ll thank my tenants for this suggestion – if you have a big family you might want to get a 32 gal Rubbermaid bin with the locking handle lid, we used one of those for years.

Worried about pests? Well, the average racoon can have that 96 gallon bin on it’s side in about two minutes, he’ll have to dig this one out. Late one night my husband and I watched Rocky fumbling with the handles on our Rubbermaid can, but he couldn’t get it open. He never bothered it again.

Flies will have to find a way under that fitted lid, while they are free to enter and exit your loosed lid WM bins at will. Did you know, fly eggs in your garbage bins gestate within a week? They hatch before the truck can dump your bin. We’ve composted this way for over 20 years, and I’ve never had flies in my compost hole. We’ve done same with our dogs’ poop, while we watched our neighbors dump it loose in their WM bins. Yech – just think, meat waste in your yard bin, that’s fly habitat. And don’t forget rats, they’re smart as hell and have fingers like a human.

Here’s an interesting note – apartment dwellers are exempt all together at this point, the talking heads haven’t figured out how to manage that demographic. Imagine how much they generate. See, it’s all on us homeowners/single family rental dwellers, and I think that’s a crock. So call WM today and tell them you want that yard waste bin gone and you want the discount. I know it’s only $5+ – go ahead Mr. and Mrs. Lobster, you can leave your tails in that pot, I’m out.