Solid Waste and Recyclables

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While raising awareness about and encouraging recycling is desirable, preventing the generation of waste in the first place can have a profound affect toward protecting the environment. Waste prevention is much less expensive and saves far more nonrenewable resources than recycling or reusing.

City Programs & Policies

Strand Recycling ContainerWaste collection programs provided by the City of Manhattan Beach both encourage and make it easy for residents, businesses, and employees to properly dispose of the waste they generate through daily activities. The City’s waste collection programs include: 1) convenient, curbside collection services for both recyclable and non-recyclable waste as well as green waste, 2) recycling containers placed in public venues throughout the City (e.g., City Hall, The Strand, Downtown), 3) public education about proper waste disposal, including household hazardous waste, and 4) how to manage and dispose of construction-related debris and waste.

California State Legislation: AB 939 & 2449

In 1989, the California State Legislature passed Assembly Bill (AB) 939, known as the Integrated Waste Management Act, to address the increasing waste stream and decreasing landfi ll capacity problem facing California. This legislation mandated that jurisdictions meet a diversion goal of 50% by the year 2000 and established an integrated framework for program implementation, solid waste planning, and solid waste facility and landfill compliance. The City of Manhattan Beach is in compliance with AB 939.

On July 1, 2007 AB 2449 was put into effect, requiring large grocery stores in California to accept clean, used plastic carryout bags and offer reusable bags for purchase. AB 2449 “sunsets” in 2013 and will no longer be required by the state.

Solid Waste
In general terms, solid waste refers to garbage, refuse, and other discarded solid materials resulting from residential and commercial activities. More commonly, it is called “trash.” This type of waste is transported by the City’s current waste hauler, Waste Management, to local landfills for direct burial. No portion of the residential and commercial solid waste collected in Manhattan Beach is separated for recycling. Instead, the City administers a separate recycling program (discussed below) and encourages the separation of recyclables prior to trash collection. The City’s residential and commercial solid waste collection programs are administered under separate guidelines, which are outlined here:

Residential Waste Collection

In Manhattan Beach, commercial businesses disposed an average of 33,335 pounds of trash each to landfills in 2004. This amount decreased by approximately 15% to 28,335 pounds per refuse account in 2006.
Due to the area’s narrow streets, sand section neighborhoods receive weekly manual collection services (i.e., each bin is manually dumped into a trash or recycling truck). These residents must provide their own 32-gallon gray trash containers, while Waste Management provides blue recycling and green waste containers. All other areas of the City are serviced weekly using semi-automated collection trucks and are provided a choice of 64 or 96-gallon gray, blue, and green toters (carts with wheels). In 2004, the average resident produced 820 pounds of solid landfill waste. By 2006 this volume had decreased by approximately 6.3% to 769 pounds, suggesting that recycling among residents is improving.

The City’s waste collection fees are some of the lowest in the region, and are determined by the number of residential dwelling units on each property. For example, one single family unit (property) pays $13.25 monthly, while two dwelling units on a single property pay roughly double that amount. However, the City’s residential monthly rates are independent of the amount of trash produced. Because there is no rate difference associated with container sizes or number used, a rate-based incentive program to recycle does not currently exist in Manhattan Beach.

Commercial Waste Collection
The City administers a slightly different waste collection program for its commercial businesses, which is incentive based. The size, number of trash cans, and/or cubic yard bins used and the frequency of collection for landfill disposal determine each business’s waste collection rate, i.e., those businesses that produce greater amounts of landfill waste pay higher waste collection fees. However, recycling bins and collection services are provided free of charge. Like residential services, landfill waste collection fees are applied to each unique business establishment rather than singularly to an entire parcel. Also, each business may have to facilitate its own collection schedule based on its needs.

Waste Management also conducts an Operation “Snap Shot” Program, which assists in auditing commercial properties for proper bin size, use, and frequency of collection. During collection, if a Waste Management (WM) driver sees a commercial container filled above the rim, or if the business placed excess waste outside the container for pick-up, a digital photo of the overflow is taken. Waste Management then issues a courtesy letter with the photo informing the business of the overage and advises the business to adjust its collection service immediately to better meet its needs and avoid future overage charges. If there is a second infraction, WM issues the business a second letter and adds an overage fee to its refuse bill. This program encourages businesses to restructure their trash service, increase recycling, and create a cleaner business district.

Sidewalk recycling barrelRecycled Waste
The City’s recycling efforts are comprehensive and include residential curbside recycling, commercial recycling, green waste and composting, household hazardous waste collection, construction and demolition debris management, school based recycling, and education. Like solid waste, virtually all of the City’s recycled waste is managed through a contract with Waste Management as is a portion of the City’s public education program.

Residential & Community Recycling
As legislated under AB 939, at least 50% of the annual waste generated by residents, businesses and operations in Manhattan Beach must be recycled. In 2006, the City diverted 54% of its total waste stream to recycling, the success of which was achieved through a series of programs. In 2006, each resident recycled an average of 839 pounds of waste, about 14% more than in 2004. As mentioned above, residents receive free, unlimited recycling containers and weekly curbside collection. Residents can commingle their paper, glass, plastic and metal recyclables. Additionally, each residential dwelling is entitled to three free bulky-item/E-waste pick-ups per year (up to 9 items in total).

The City has also recently upgraded and/or provided new recycling containers at City Hall Plaza, the Joslyn Center, in the Downtown district, and at the weekly Farmer’s Market. Additional recycling containers will be placed along the Strand and at the pier and its adjacent parking lots using a $70,000 grant award from the Department of Conservation.

To educate Manhattan Beach children on the importance of waste reduction, the City provided reusable canvas lunch bags and reusable water bottles to all children and staff participating in the 2007 summer programs. Approximately 1,000 canvas bags were decorated as part of an art project funded through the Department of Conservation City/
County Payment Program.

In 1970, a 23 year old U.C.L.A. student named Gary Dean Anderson entered a nationwide artwork contest along with 500 others to create a symbol that would represent the process of recycling paper. The contest was hosted by The Container Corporation of America (CCC), who chose Gary’s symbol and awarded him a $2,500 scholarship. Over the past 37 years, his design has become the universal symbol for recycling.

Recycle symbol

Commercial Recycling
In 2006, each of the City’s commercial refuse accounts diverted, on average, 22,045 pounds of waste to recycling, an increase of 3,557 pounds over 2005, but still somewhat less than the City’s 50% recycling goal. As stated above under Solid Waste, commercial waste collection fees are structured in a manner that encourage businesses to recycle because the City provides free, unlimited collection services for recycled materials. Waste Management also conducts educational site visits about recycling to the City’s local businesses.

Household Hazardous Waste
On its website, the City highlights locations and opportunities for residents and businesses to dispose of household hazardous waste (HHW), electronic waste (E-waste), and universal waste (U-waste). The closest permanent location for HHW disposal is the S.A.F.E. (Solvents, Automotive, Flammables, and Electronics) Collection Center located at the Hyperion Treatment Plant, which is open on Saturdays and Sundays. The City also co-sponsors a HHW collection event each year with the County of Los Angeles, Department of Public Works. The County coordinates with the City to determine where to host and advertise the event. In addition to these locations, used motor oil can also be taken to one of five Certified Collection Centers in the City. Used motor oil recycling ads are placed frequently in the Beach Reporter listing local collection centers. Lastly, on Earth Day 2007 an E-Waste collection event was held at Manhattan Beach Middle School.

Green Waste & Composting
The City provides and implements several green waste programs. These include:

  • Providing free green waste containers and collection services to all residents.
  • Providing free holiday tree, curbside collection from December 25th to the second week in January each year.
  • Supporting community composting programs. For example, the City recently provided a large composting tumbler in support of Grand View Elementary’s “Trash Free Tuesday’s” program.
  • Providing “Smart Gardening” DVDs and VHS tapes for checkout at our library.
  • Hosting free composting classes (pictured) three times each year in the Botanical Garden of Polliwog Park. The classes teach residents the importance of composting, grasscycling, and using various earth-friendly gardening practices, as well as detailing the benefits of compost as a soil amendment for improving soil structure and retarding the release of nutrients. At these composting classes (or by contacting Waste Management directly), residents can purchase Biostack or Worm bins at a significant discount. Composting classes are advertised in the Beach Reporter one week before each class.

Construction & Demolition
According to the City’s Municipal Code, any construction and demolition (C & D) project with a total value of $100,000 or more must recycle 50% of the waste it generates. Submission of all landfill and recycling receipts are required by the contractor in order to process and finalize the project’s Waste Management Plan. Analysis of the tickets turned in by contractors suggests that the City’s C & D program has resulted in diverting about 70% of construction waste from landfills between 2004 and 2007. Though not all projects are required to meet the diversion goal, all C & D projects in Manhattan Beach are encouraged to recycle their waste.

Earth Day & Hometown Fair
Every April, the City of Manhattan Beach and VOICE (Volunteers and Organizations Improving the Community’s Environment) co-present an Earth Day Festival at Polliwog Park, and every October, the City hosts the annual Hometown Fair. At both events, the City staffs a booth which features hands-on activities and information about environmentally friendly practices. Adults and kids alike line up to play the interactive spin-the-wheel quiz game, where participants are asked environmental quiz questions, and prizes are given out for correct, environmentally-conscious answers. Educational brochures highlight best practices for recycling, pet waste, storm water runoff, water conservation, and household hazardous materials. These well-organized and well-attended events raise awareness of environmentally friendly practices in a festive atmosphere.

School Recycling Programs
Manhattan Beach’s school-based recycling, education and composting programs are facilitated through the City’s refuse contract with Waste Management. Waste Management representatives contact each school at the beginning of the year to determine what bins, presentations, assemblies, or other types of assistance are needed. Some of the District’s schools have taken greater advantage of Waste Management’s services and implemented more extensive waste management programs.

Education & Outreach
In addition to the school programs highlighted, many of the City’s other recycling education and outreach efforts are also contracted through Waste Management. Recycling Ads, brochures, flyers, bill inserts and newsletters are created by WM and disseminated throughout the year after copy and artwork are approved by City staff. The City also utilizes its website to provide information on landfill waste, green waste, and recycling (including HHW) programs.

Local School Recycling Programs

All local schools have recycling programs in place. Here are a few examples:

Grandview Elementary School
Grandview has implemented a Planet Pals program, sponsored by the PTA, to promote environmental awareness. The program includes composting activities, encourages Trash Free Tuesday’s, recycling, etc. Waste Management provides assistance with composting bins and education as well as provides support for the campus recycling program.

Pacific Elementary School
Waste Management meets with the new student council each October to train them on the campus recycling program, assists with the Cans for Cash program held in April, and provides waste containers on campus.

Manhattan Beach Middle School
Waste Management coordinates with the school’s student council advisor to provide assistance and determine needs for the campus’ recycling programs. Waste Management also confirms with the school’s maintenance supervisor that all old corrugated cardboard (OCC) is being diverted.

Mira Costa High School
Waste Management works with the high school to track its campus recycling program throughout the year, and adjustments are made when necessary. For example, in December 2005, one 6-cubic yard trash bin was replaced with two 3-cubic yard recycling bins for OCC collection, reducing the school’s solid waste bill by $422 per month. In the classroom, the high school’s ecology club oversees classroom recycling, with support from Waste Management. The club makes presentations to the faculty to ensure teacher support with recycling mixed paper and items eligible for California Refund Value (CRV). Teachers are required to know where the main recycling bin is located and are expected to assign students to transfer the classroom recycling to the school bin. Ecology club members also maintain the school’s Eco Land native garden and compost bins. Most years, Waste Management representatives make a composting presentation to the Ecology Club to enforce the best practices of composting.

American Martyrs School (K-8)
Waste Management provides twice-weekly recycling collection services for classroom and office recycling waste, and is working with American Martyrs to help them increase their bottle and can recycle efforts. Waste Management has also provided four 32-gallon recycling containers for the school’s gym and playing fields.

Manhattan Beach Preschool & Adult School Programs
Waste Management makes presentations to one or two preschools each year at our local schools, including Manhattan Preschool, Montessori, Manhattan Academy, Creative Kids, Beach Babies, Via Pacifica, and South Bay Adult School.

Other Notable Programs

Reducing Solid Waste & Improving Recycling Efforts
Many cities use an incentive-based, residential fee structure for solid waste collection to achieve higher diversion and recycling rates. For example, Kirkland, WA provides unlimited, free recycling containers and one free green waste container to all residents much like the City of Manhattan Beach. However, landfill waste collection fees are based on container size, ranging from $22.88 for one 20-gallon mini-cart to $78.00 for one 96-gallon cart. In all, Kirkland offers five trash cart sizes and associated fees. This structure encourages residents to recycle more aggressively, which in turn reduces their utility bills. Santa Monica employs a similar tiered waste collection fee schedule.

The City of Los Angeles has adopted the statewide “Zero Waste” campaign and has set a goal of diverting 70% of its waste for recycling by 2020. This aggressive campaign began with an intensive waste stream analysis to pinpoint areas of opportunity for greater diversion. The City will focus on expanding its construction & demolition, composting, green waste, and curbside recycling programs, as well as allowing Styrofoam into weekly recycling collection. Three innovative programs being added to Los Angeles’ recycling efforts include Commercial Restaurant Food Scrap Collection, Multi-Family Dwelling recycling (apartments, condos, and town homes), and promotion/implementation of sustainable development policies and guidelines. In March of this year, the City of San Francisco became the first city in the U.S. to ban the distribution of non-biodegradable grocery bags. In March 2008, the ban will also apply to pharmacies. San Francisco’s program is enforced through civil fines. Following this example, 13 other U.S. cities and the States of Alaska and New York are considering the ban of non-biodegradable grocery bags.

Diverting Construction & Demolition Debris
Similar to Manhattan Beach, the City of Inglewood requires all construction and demolition projects to divert 50% of their wastes, regardless of the value of the project. Inglewood dedicates three Community Services Inspectors (CSI) solely to audit construction and demolition projects for proper waste diversion and to issue citations for non-compliance. The CSIs inspect each site to confirm that the project’s details match its waste management plan, and upon completion of the project the CSIs confirm that all waste has been properly diverted. The City’s accounting department tracks all landfill and recycling receipts and issues the contractor a refund of the required deposit upon achievement and approval of the 50% diversion.

Green recycling barrellRecycling Green Waste
In addition to a Biostack and Worm Bin, the City of Los Angeles offers an Earth Machine Composter that mixes composted materials without turning. They also have a composting facility for the residents at Griffith Park with frequent bin sales events throughout the year.

Increasing Household Hazardous Waste Collection
The Lake Michigan Districts of Lake, Porter and LaPorte Counties exclusively use a Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Mobile Collection Service for all residents. In lieu of establishing HHW collection centers and events, household items are picked up directly at the home. Arrangements are made by appointment only, and the items must be left in front of the garage. Residents are required to pay $10.00 per pick-up. Many cities offer a Sharps program (for medical syringes) in which residents receive free postage-paid, mail-back containers for their sharps.

Enhancing Educational Outreach
Climb Theaters, an organization based in Minnesota, performs plays at elementary and secondary schools, addressing topics ranging from the environment to bullying. The program began as a Drama class project to connect with youth about the importance of kindness and friendship. The organization’s philosophy is that if children can learn to respect themselves and others, they can learn to respect the environment.

The City of Santa Monica has a program called Peer Partners, in which older students visit lower grade classrooms to educate younger students about lunchbox waste and alterative packaging (i.e., Tupperware in lieu of zip lock bags).

Programs & Practices for Future Consideration

Consider adopting a fee-based structure for solid waste collection
Upon the expiration of the current Waste Management contract in 2009, consider creating an incentive-based fee structure to encourage more aggressive recycling practices and reduce the amount of solid waste going to landfills. Set a goal of reducing the amount of residential trash generated by an additional 10% to 700 pounds per year and commercial business trash by an additional 15%, or 4,250 pounds per year.
Cost: $$ Feasibility Rating: 3

Implement a Styrofoam waste reduction program
The Styrofoam waste reduction program should evaluate and consider: 1) implementing actions that encourage businesses to use alternative food containers, such as those made from recycled material, 2) expanding the recycling program to include Styrofoam, 3) a Styrofoam reduction program through education, and 4) an ordinance banning the use of Styrofoam.
Cost: $$$ Feasibility Rating: 2

Prohibit the use of plastic bags in grocery stores
Consider prohibiting the use of plastic bags in grocery stores; consider subsidizing the purchase of reusable bags to encourage residents to use cloth and/or other reusable bags.
Cost: $$ Feasibility Rating: 4

Improve community recycling and waste reduction efforts
Consider implementing a “Think Beyond Blue” campaign focusing on environmentally friendly practices that are beyond the blue recycling cart. The program would encourage people to “rethink” by:

  • Making better consumer packaging decisions (i.e., buying in bulk instead of multiple packages)
  • Considering organic waste disposal (food scrap recycling for businesses, composting for residents)
  • Purchasing recycled products
  • Enforcing proper household hazardous waste disposal

The program would include a “Rethink” webpage on the City’s website listing practical ways residents and businesses can rethink a typical day and in turn help the environment.
Cost: $$$ Feasibility Rating: 1

Enhance multi-family dwelling recycling efforts
Consider ways to better provide and promote multi-family dwelling recycling efforts. Consider new recycling avenues to overcome space limitations.
Cost: $$$ Feasibility Rating: 1

Improve the amount of construction waste recycled
Consider requiring all construction projects to divert 50% of their waste instead of only those projects valuing $100,000 or greater. Add staff resources to oversee, audit, and enforce recycling requirements.
Cost: $$$$ Feasibility Rating: 2

Promote recycled goods
Create a “Buy Recycled in Manhattan” campaign and invite all businesses who sell earth-friendly items or services to submit an electronic form listing company information, a brief description of the earth-friendly products or services sold and artwork of the company logo.
Cost: $$$ Feasibility Rating: 1

Promote business “Green Management Plans”
Encourage businesses to create an annual “Green Management Plan” which identifies what they currently do and plan to do to be more environmentally friendly. Grade participating businesses (A, B, C, etc) as an incentive for them to participate in the program, and provide grade cards for placement in front windows.
Cost: $$$ Feasibility Rating: 1

Enhance green waste programs
Strengthen the composting program to encourage residents to compost at home. Increase the number of composting ads placed in the Beach Reporter to promote year-round composting. For businesses, implement the Commercial Restaurant Food Scrap Collection Program to increase awareness of the need to compost and recycle waste streams outside of typical collection.
Cost: $$$ Feasibility Rating: 1

Enhance household hazardous waste programs
Consider providing household hazardous waste mobile collection services for residents. Items collected could include paint, used motor oil and household cleaners, electronics (E-waste), universal waste (U-Waste, including compact fluorescent bulbs and batteries), and pharmaceutical waste. Educate residents on how to create at-home organic cleaning supplies in lieu of purchasing cleaning products considered hazardous.
Cost: $$$ Feasibility Rating: 1

Enhance education programs
Consider implementing or enhancing the following environmental outreach programs:

  • Offer free “Go Green” classes to residents, e.g. provide a basic overview on how to “green” their lifestyle from A-Z. Videotape the class to post on the City website. • Improve the City’s website information regarding waste and recycling by providing more topics, easier links and greater resources. Create a kid’s section on the website focused on the environment, offering links and tools to help Manhattan Beach students build an earth-friendly lifestyle.
  • Promote the “Rethink” concept (identified above).
  • Improve outreach to students about composting, recycling, hazardous waste disposal, etc., and provide City-subsidized recycling containers for classrooms, staff offices, and other key areas in our schools.
  • Promote student “peer-to-peer” activities through school clubs (e.g., drama, ecology).

Cost: $$$ Feasibility Rating: 1