Green Waste

Good back story about the green garbage cans that are for yard waste, one of which showed up in my front yard a few months ago and is working out fine so far.

Green Intentions?
Local municipalities try to rake in the costs of recycling yard waste
By Vanessa Richardson

YOU SAY YOU HAVEN’T YET RECEIVED one of those big, dark green plastic tubs or wheeled carts dropped off by your local garbage service? Fear not; you soon will. More cities and counties in the Sacramento area are issuing them as the main dumping place for residents’ “green waste,” aka the clippings from your lawn and trees, to place on the curb for trash day.

If you’re a good citizen, you’ve been dutifully placing your green waste in the bin instead of sticking it in a garbage bag or, worse, placing it in your household trash or leaving it for loose-in-the-street collections and not only during pruning season (a week each in February and May) and leaf season (two weeks in November and December).

Your local government thanks you for helping out, but your good deeds may also be hurting it hard in the pocketbook. Municipalities have too much green waste on their hands, says Richard Tagore-Erwin, a principal at Sacramento-based R3 Consulting Group, which focuses on waste-management issues.

“Their biggest problem is there’s so much of it that they can’t sell it all.” Many aren’t making a profit from turning it into something useful, let alone breaking even on the costs required to pick it up, cart it away and dispose of it properly, according to Tagore-Erwin.

As long as Californians love their lawns, green waste will be generated. The state produces an estimated 76 million tons of garbage yearly and, according to California’s Integrated Waste Management Board, 40 percent of that is green waste. And like it or not, your city or county has to keep picking it up.

To fight increased waste of all types and diminished landfill capacity, the state enacted the Integrated Waste Management Act in 1989, requiring local jurisdictions to reduce the volume of waste sent to landfills by 50 percent. Because green waste can easily be separated from overall waste, local governments are focusing their efforts on “greencycling.”

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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