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Cypress City Council approves organic waste recycling program

At its regular meeting on the evening of Monday, November 22, the Cypress City Council discussed a proposed organic waste recycling program to be administered through Valley Vista of Orange County (VVS), the City’s contracted waste hauler. George Briggeman, a representative of VVS, was in the Chamber audience but did not speak.

The item consisted of five parts, which were voted on as a block:

  1. Approve Valley Vista Services’ Organic Waste Recycling Program and related franchise amendments; and
  2. Approve franchise amendments adjusting residential and commercial recycling rates and changing the Consumer Price Index calculations; and
  3. Approve the city organics recycling compliance fee, subject to a Proposition 218 hearing; and
  4. Approve the Proposition 218 notice and schedule; and
  5. Set a public hearing for the rate adjustment.

Council Member Scott Minikus proposed an additional item, setting aside $50,000 to assist low-income residents who might need help in covering the increased cost. The money would come from the American Rescue Plan Act. The assistance would be available for two years. Because the item was not on the agenda, the vote will be to bring the item back at a future meeting for Council consideration.

The Council first voted on the original five items: 4-1-1, with Council Member Frances Marquez abstaining.

The Council then voted on the additional item: 5-0.

Background

The State of California has mandated a 75% reduction in organic waste. Next year — 2022 — all cities in California will be required to provide organic recycling for all residents and businesses.

Organic waste is made up of food waste, green waste, and paper products. According to CalRecycle:

  • Paper products are made from organic materials that can be recycled. Recyclable paper items include newspapers, magazines, catalogs, junk mail, printer paper, envelopes, gift wrapping paper, cardboard, and even paper egg cartons. Some local recycling programs also accept telephone books (check with local waste haulers for community-specific information).
  • Food waste refers to all surplus food scraps. The term has fallen out of favor with some composters, who prefer to view this material as a resource rather than as waste material. However, this term is interchangeable with food scraps.
  • Green waste refers to urban landscape waste generally consisting of leaves, grass clippings, weeds, yard trimmings, wood waste, branches and stumps, home garden residues, and other miscellaneous organic materials.

In January, the Cypress City Council directed its waste hauler, VVS, to develop and implement a compliant organic waste recycling program. VVS submitted its proposal in June. An extended period of evaluation and negotiation then took place. The City was supported by wolid waste industry experts contracted for the effort. VVS submitted an updated program in September. That same month, the City updated its Solid Waste Ordinance to agree with the State’s requirements and in order to extend the organic waste recycling program’s implementation deadline.

Discussion

The matter before the Council on November 22 represented all the pieces needed to put in place the organic waste recycling program.

The City’s new organics recycling compliance fee will cover the cost of new administrative obligations that include public education and reporting. The fee is set at 1.5% and is expected to raise about $100,000 annually. A single-family customer of VVS should expect to pay an additional 32¢ monthly.Commercial customers will pay an additional $1.50 to $3.00 a month.

The new organic waste recycling program will extend the franchise from June 30, 2027 to June 30, 2037. In response to expressed hesitation about that extension, it was reported that VVS faces significant expenses to build its own organic waste recycling facility:

VVS Costs  
Collection Vehicles $1,941,290
Utility Vehicles $262,000
Bin/Cart/Caddies $307,500
Program Signage $20,000
Processing Facility & Equipment $8,066,500
Total $10,597,290

It was also pointed out that recycling has become a cost, rather than a revenue source. It was reported that since 2018, VVS has spent an average of $193,000 a year to dispose of recyclables collected in Cypress.

The new agreement also includes a provision against inflation.

Summary of new charges

RESIDENTIAL Monthly Rate Cumulative Increase
Existing Single-Family Residential Service $16.17  
New Organic Recycling Program Rate $3.67 $3.67
Additional Recycling Program Rate $1.27 $4.94
Recommended Residential Rate $21.11  
City Organic Recycling Compliance Fee* $5.26
Recommended Total $21.43  

* The organic recycling compliance fee will appear as a separate line item on customer’s bi-monthly water and trash bills.

COMMERCIAL Existing Rate Increase Recommended Rate
64 Gallon Organic Cart $84.19 $11.37 $95.56
3 Cubic Yards
1 x Week – Organic Waste
$175.01 $23.63 $198.64
3 Cubic Yards
1 x Week – Green Waste
$90.63

$9.06

$99.69
3 Cubic Yards
1 x Week – Recycling
$72.92 $36.46 $109.38

1 Comment

  1. I am NOT separating my food waste. The City can charge me more and then Valley Vista can come by my house to pick up an empty food waste trash can each week. Just the cost of living in insane Communist California.

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