(from city of Davis press release) – The carts are coming!
The current system of collecting yard material loose in the street is changing to a hybrid system of yard material piles and organics carts. Once the Organics Collection Program begins in July, all residents and businesses in Davis will have access to food scrap recycling service through Davis Waste Removal.
Organics collection carts will be delivered to all customers (residents, apartment communities and businesses) starting on Monday, June 20. Organics collection service will start the week of July 11. Organics carts will be serviced once per week, on the same day as residential trash and recycling service.
Davis has a goal of diverting 75% of its waste from the landfill by 2020. Currently, Davis diverts 64% of its waste. The City is looking to the organics program as a way to boost waste diversion and get closer to the 75% goal.
The organics cart will be used for collecting food scraps, food soiled-paper, and yard trimmings. Examples of acceptable materials include fruits and vegetables, meat, bones, eggshells, milk cartons, paper towels, paper plates, coffee grounds and filters, yard trimmings and much, much more. “If it grows, it goes!” says Jennifer Gilbert, Conservation Coordinator for the City of Davis.
Organics carts will be delivered to the curb at each single-family residence and a kitchen food scrap pail will be delivered to the doorstep of each residence. Each kitchen pail will have a flier inside with detailed information about what can go in the organics cart. Kitchen food scrap pails are also available for apartment residents. City staff will work directly with the property managers to deliver the pails to multi-family properties.
Apartment, multi-family, and non-restaurant commercial customers will receive a 95-gallon organics cart that will be serviced once a week. Restaurants, grocery stores, and other commercial customers with large amounts of food scraps will receive a 65-gallon food scrap cart that will be picked up twice a week.
“We have heard a lot of concern from residents that think the yard trimming piles are going away,” says Mayor Dan Wolk. “That’s not the case. The Organics Collection Program will include on-street pick-up of yard trimmings. This program is a hybrid—a meeting in the middle between residents who do not want the on-street pile pick-up and the residents who do.”
As part of the organics collection program, the on-street yard material piles will be picked-up once per month (during the week of the first Monday of each month) AND every week during the leaf-drop season (beginning the third Monday in October through mid-December). In order to prevent yard material piles from sitting in the street all week long, piles may not be placed in the street more than 5 days before a scheduled pick-up.
The last week of the current weekly yard material pile service will be the week of June 27. The new once-a-month yard material pile pick-up service will begin the week of July 4, 2016.
To make it easier to remember when the next scheduled yard material pile collection will be, the City is sending out a mailer in the coming weeks that will have a calendar magnet with the 2016 collection schedule. The City’s recycling website, DavisRecycling.org, also has neighborhood pick-up schedules available. Customers can download a calendar that shows their collection days and the days when they are allowed to place piles out in the street—a handy tool to give to your landscaper.
There will be a few other changes in yard material pile collection as well. Leaves and grass will not be allowed in yard material piles unless the organics cart is already full. “The organics cart should become the default location for all yard clippings,” says John Geisler, General Manager at Davis Waste Removal. “Yard material piles can be used for excess materials that will not fit in the organics cart.”
There are some areas of town that will not have yard material pile collection service after June 30. Yard material piles will not be allowed in the downtown core area (the area bounded by 5th Street, the south side of 1st Street, the west side of B Street and the Union Pacific railroad tracks). Yard material piles will not be permitted on streets where they will block the bike lane. There will be no yard material pile collection service in the Cannery development.
The City is proposing an adjusted rate for these customers that do not have access to yard material collection service due to City’s regulations. This item is scheduled to go to City Council for approval on June 21.
Customers with excess yard trimmings that can’t fit in the organics cart have options available. Yard materials can be stored onsite and placed in the organics cart each week or saved until the next on-street pile collection day. Customers can also request additional organics carts for $4.98 per month. Customers may also contact Davis Waste Removal for a special pick-up of yard material piles (fees apply and will be based on the volume, size, and type of yard material), ask a landscaper to haul away trimmings or ask a neighbor if they have space in their organics cart.
A common concern is that the organics program will create odor and pest issues. The organics program should not create any new odor or pest issues. “DWR is already collecting these materials every week. We are only asking customers to place them into a different cart,” says Gilbert. “Right now, customers typically place food scraps and other wastes into plastic bags to keep their trash carts clean and pest free. There are simple ways to achieve the same ends with the organics cart.”
Plastic bags cannot be used in the organics carts. Instead, customers are encouraged to use compostable bags or paper bags for their food scraps. Customers can also collect food scraps in an empty milk or ice cream carton, which can then be placed in the organics cart for composting. “Placing yard materials, cardboard or newspapers at the bottom of the organics cart is another great way to keep your organics cart clean,” says Gilbert. “Waiting to add the food scraps to your cart until just before collection will also help.” The City’s recycling website DavisRecycling.org has a list of tips and tricks to avoid odors when collecting food scraps.
Composting is not new in Davis. Many restaurants and grocery stores in Davis have already been collecting food scraps for composting for 5 years.
The City continues to host community meetings to discuss the Organics Collection Program and answer questions the next scheduled meetings will be Tuesday, June 21 from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. in the Game Room at the Veterans Memorial Center and Tuesday, June 28 from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. in the Game Room at the Davis Senior Center. These meetings will include a short presentation on the details of the Organics Program and a question and answer session. Additional community meetings will be scheduled in the coming months.
The City has detailed information about the Organics Collection Program, including a series of web videos, fliers, downloadable yard material pile collection schedules and more at DavisRecycling.org.