City of Riverside

R3 first conducted an evaluation of the City of Riverside (City)’s organics collection program, which included reviewing the City’s municipal code, franchise agreement, and commercial solid waste rates; disposal, transfer and processing options and capabilities, commercial customer practices, available food recovery program options, and waste hauler involvement in the provision of services.

As part of this project, R3 provided the City with recommended modifications and updates to the existing program in support of legislative requirements for recycling and organics diversion, including AB 341, SB 1383, and AB 1594. In addition, R3 updated the City’s AB 1826 Plan to CalRecycle, providing a memorandum summarizing the actions needed of the City and its haulers and timelines for such actions. R3 developed tools for the City to use in its AB 1826 outreach, including a tracking Excel workbook, scripts for outreach calls, and sample compliance letters to send to noncompliant businesses and multi-family properties.

R3 also provided the City with recommendations to establish commercial food waste collection service through an extension to the current commercial franchise hauling contracts via a 1-year amendment, a competitive RFP process, or by taking a hybrid approach. R3 developed these recommendations for the most effective approach to facilitate both the City’s immediate and long-term plans with the objective of maximizing efficiency, sustainability, and customer satisfaction while meeting the state’s mandatory solid waste collection laws.

Building off that assessment, R3 (with subconsultants Cascadia Consulting Group and SCS Engineers) is currently engaged by the City of Riverside to perform a strategic and economic review of their solid waste and recycling program. The overall objective of this review is to analyze long-term industry best practices and state requirements for AB 341, AB 1826, SB 1383, and AB 1594. Specific issues to be addressed during the analysis is whether to outsource or continue providing municipal street sweeping and residential services. For this engagement, R3 is conducting the following tasks:

  • Reviewing the City’s Residential Collection Operations and identify opportunities to improve performance;
  • Review the 2018 Performance Audit of the City’s Public Works Department;
  • Review the feasibility for demand-based pricing for residential services;
  • Evaluate City services and costs compared to contracted services and costs;
  • Review the City’s current Agreements for commercial and residential collection (including Amendments) and prepare recommendations to address new contractual requirements for regulatory compliance and industry best practices;
  • Review the City’s waste processing contract with Burrtec for the operation of Agua Mansa Transfer Station;
  • Review and revise the City’s current Municipal Code and diversion policies, with consideration to statewide contamination reduction requirements such as AB 341, AB 1826, SB 1383;
  • Analyze financial organic waste program data provided by waste haulers and transfer, processing and disposal facilities;
  • Establish rate structure goals for the City;
  • Conduct a Cost-of-Service analysis to determine the costs of providing service;
  • Document current financial baselines and evaluate the sufficiency of the current rate structure to meet the haulers’ expenses over the 5- and 10-year planning periods
  • Prepare revenue and expense projections for the 5- and 10-year planning periods;
  • Develop solid waste Rate Model and analyze rate-adjustment options for the 5- and 10-year planning periods; and
  • Set recommended solid waste rates for the City over a five-year time span.
  • Based on our findings from the review, we have provide the City with recommendations to minimize waste volume, optimize collection and waste transfer practices, improve cash flow, identify opportunities for increased waste recovery and energy production, and address Agreement requirements for the incorporation of long-term industry best practices and state regulations.

Thanks to an increasingly environmentally-conscious public and pressure on corporations to be responsible producers and make sustainability pledges, 2019 has been a busy year for environmental legislation in California. Here’s a sampling of pro-environment legislation that has either been approved or may be revisited in the 2020 session:

Signed by Governor in 2019:

AB 827 – Commercial recycling/organics access 

  • Requires recycling bins — that are accessible and adjacent to trash bins — to be provided at all businesses already subject to state recyclables and organics laws.
  • By July 1, 2020, CalRecycle must provide “model signage that commercial and organic waste generators…may utilize to mark the recycling bins.”

AB 1162 – Hospitality plastic reduction

  • If approved, lodging establishments with 50+ rooms will be prohibited from offering “personal care products” to guests in small plastic bottles by January 2023. The law would apply to all other establishments by 2024.

AB 815 – Dual-stream recycling

  • Encourages jurisdictions to switch from single- to dual-stream (source-separated) recycling, where containers/glass are separated from fiber in curbside recycling programs.
  • Directs CalRecycle to research the prevalence of source-separated recycling programs in the state.
  • The law’s intention is to use source separation to reduce contamination and increase marketability of materials.
  • Effective January 1, 2020.

SB 726 – Household hazardous waste reuse

  • Seeks to “reduce the unnecessary incineration and disposal of hazardous household waste products” (home and yard), 10% of which it estimates could be reused.
  • It authorizes “materials exchange programs” at local household hazardous waste collection facilities to make “reusable household hazardous products or materials available to recipients.”

AB 619 – Reusable containers

  • Authorizes reusable containers at food facilities.
  • Authorizes multi-use utensils at temporary food facilities. The utensils must be cleaned, rinsed, and sanitized by the temporary food facility or an approved food facility.

On Governor’s Desk or Deferred to Next Session (2020):

AB 792 – Recycled Content Requirements

  • Plastic beverage containers in the state’s deposit program must contain 50% recycled content by 2030.

AB 1593 – California Recycling Market Development Act

  • CalRecycle will form a Statewide Commission on Recycling Markets and Curbside Recycling, comprised of “public agencies, private solid waste enterprises, and environmental organizations with expertise in recycling.”
  • By January 2021 the Commission will “issue policy recommendations to achieve specified market development goals and waste reduction goals and provide regular feedback to [CalRecycle] on public messaging designed to encourage proper recycling and to minimize contamination in curbside recycling programs.”
  • The operation of the Recycling Market Development Revolving Loan Program was extended from July 2021 to 2031.
  • Authorization to provide financial assistance (in the form of sale and tax exclusion for qualifying projects) through the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority was extended from January 2021 to 2026.
  • Rigid plastic containers and bottles will no longer be required to be labeled with an identifying triangular recyclable symbol.

SB 54 / AB 1080 – Solid waste packaging and products 

  • By 2030, all single-use plastic packaging/products sold or distributed in California must be recyclable or compostable by 2030. be reduced or recycled by 75% by 2030.”
  • Requires, by 2030, “a statewide 75% reduction of the waste generated from single-use packaging and priority single-use products…sold, distributed or imported into the state through source reduction, recycling, or composting.”
  • CalRecycle must “develop incentives and policies to encourage in-state manufacturing using recycled material generated in California.”

AB 729 – Carpet stewardship program

  • Introduces carpet recycling fees, paid by consumers at point of purchase, that are financially linked to the cost of recycling each carpet as well as its post-consumer recycled content; the more environmentally-friendly the carpet is, the lower the carpet recycling fee will be.
  • Incentivizes consumers and producers.

AB 54 – The California beverage container recycling and litter reduction act

  • Authorizes $5 million in grants for “up to 5 limited-term recycling pilot projects…designed to improve redemption opportunities in unserved convenience zones.”
  • Relieves grocery retailers from paying compliance fees (if no recycling centers open in their locations) until March 2020.
Bales of recycled plastic.

For a look at some impactful developments in the world of recycling, here are two interesting articles:

Published in The Atlantic on March 5, 2019:

Published in Plastics Recycling Update on March 6, 2019:

Organics Waste

In an article published in the March/April 2019 edition of BioCycle, Carrie Baxter wrote: “The next few years present a paradigm shift in the handling of solid waste, and organic waste in particular, which has real impacts on programs and, consequently, the rates charged to customers. As local jurisdictions and their franchised haulers implement and expand programs to meet these state laws and increase diversion of organics from waste streams, new challenges are emerging. These include how to pay for and enforce participation in the necessary recycling and organics collection services.”

Read the full article here.

Carrie Baxter is a Project Manager with R3 Consulting Group, Inc. in Roseville, California. She will be presenting on setting rates for organics collection at BioCycle WEST COAST19 –Track 1, April 2, 2019.

Per an article by Colin Staub in Resource Recycling, “California Assembly Member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry last week introduced Assembly Bill 815, which offers communities incentive to adopt dual-stream collections,” defined in the bill as the source separation of paper and containers, at minimum. Under this bill, communities that adopt dual-stream would automatically be considered compliant with the CA law requiring municipalities “to make efforts to implement source reduction and recycling initiatives to achieve 50 percent diversion.” Backers of the bill and dual-stream claim this move could lead to higher-quality recyclables recovery, which is especially important given the changes in the recycling commodity market — demand for lower contamination levels combined with lower commodity prices — brought on last year by China’s “National Sword” policy action.

See full article here:

See full Assembly Bill 815 here:

As reported in Waste Management Magazine, there are an estimated 50,000 – 70,000 California licensed and unlicensed cannabis cultivators, and “a typical, mid-sized manufacturer will produce 250 to 500 pounds of waste a day.” Given how rapidly this agricultural sector is growing, and the classification of cannabis waste as organic (vs. hazardous), there are concerns about the impact of cannabis waste on the state’s ability to accommodate the additional green waste via existing infrastructure and achieve California’s recycling goals.

See full article here:

As of January 1, 2020, a new California law mandates that drivers on public roads who approach or pass stopped waste service vehicles — that are readily identified and have their amber lights flashing — must do so at a safe speed and distance “without interfering with the safe operation of the waste service vehicle…” Drivers must only pass from an adjacent available lane and in conditions safe to both pedestrians and other vehicles.

To read the full text of AB 2115, click here:

AB 1884 - Plastic Straw Ban

Assembly Bill 1884, which went into effect on January 1, 2019, now prohibits “sit-down” restaurants in California from providing single-use straws, unless requested by customers. Straws made from non-plastic materials, including but not limited to paper, pasta, sugar cane, wood, or bamboo are exempt. Restaurants violating the law could be fined $25 per day or a maximum of $300 per year.

Ian Calderon, the assemblyman who authored the bill, stated: “We need to create awareness around the issue of one-time plastic straws and their detrimental effects on our landfills, waterways, and oceans. It (AB 1884) is a small step towards curbing our reliance on these convenience products, which will hopefully contribute to a change in consumer attitudes and usage.”

Click here to see the text of Assembly Bill 1884.

We are proud to announce that R3 Project Analyst Claire Wilson and Marketing Coordinator Kristy Dalay were awarded two out of the four 2019 Young Professionals Scholarships from the California Resource Recovery Association!

To learn more about CRRA and how young professionals can participate, click here.

3 Principal Garth Schultz presenting at San Rafael City Council meeting

R3 Principal, Garth Schultz, featured in news story on rate hikes in City of San Rafael. See story on KTVU News here!

To read the full article, click here.