OCEANSIDE — Residential and commercial waste collection rates will increase significantly by 2024 due to new state mandates aiming to keep food and organic materials out of landfills.
The Oceanside City Council narrowly approved its new contract with Waste Management of California for trash, recycling and organic material pick-up and processing in a 3-2 vote earlier this month at the April 6 meeting.
Rates are expected to increase by 40% for residential customers and about 38% for commercial customers in 2024. For example, a resident who pays $22.84 for a 64- or 96-gallon cart will begin to pay $32.09 monthly by July 1, 2024.
For commercial customers, the standard cart bundle including three 96-gallon carts for waste, recycling and food scraps will jump from $45.46 to $63.05 monthly.
The overall contract with Waste Management will cost the city $38.2 million, which is more than $3 million less than the original contract the company proposed in November 2021, but was turned down by the council to negotiate lower prices.
Waste Management has been providing trash pick-up services for Oceanside for more than 40 years.
Although the contract’s cost is lower than it could have been, both council members and residents were unhappy about the rate increase.
“That is a lot of money,” said resident Katie Taylor. “I didn’t know the numbers would turn out like that but I do recommend you stay with Waste Management because I don’t want to see Republic Services anywhere near Oceanside because it would probably be three times that amount.”
Republic Services, another nationwide trash collector like Waste Management, originally proposed a $40.9 million contract with the city last November.
According to Water Utilities Director Cari Dale, the “substantial” rate increases are due to Senate Bill 1383, also called California’s Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction law. The bill aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing organic waste in landfills, which emits methane, a greenhouse gas that has about 80 times more warming power than carbon dioxide.
The law also requires 20% of edible food that would be disposed of to be recovered for human consumption by 2025.
Councilmember Christopher Rodriguez was one of the two council members to vote against the contract approval as a way to stand up against the state’s new mandates.
“Sacramento likes to move on policies with respect to offsetting climate change at the expense of you California residents, and I disagree with that,” Rodriguez said. “Until local jurisdictions start to fight back against the nonsense coming out of Sacramento, they’re gonna keep passing regulations and expect you to pay for it.”
Mayor Esther Sanchez also voted against the agreement but for different reasons than Rodriguez.
“We have not done enough to get the lowest cost for service and the best services,” Sanchez said. “There is not enough education and outreach.”
She also noted that the city and its commercial businesses have to follow state law or else risk fines.
Both Deputy Mayor Ryan Keim and Councilmember Peter Weiss pointed out that negotiations over the last several months did help the proposed rate hikes go down.
To compost collected organic materials, Waste Management has entered into a separate agreement with Agri Service, which operates the El Corazon compost facility. The city is set to terminate its current operating and property lease agreement with Agri Service by the end of 2023 and will start a new property lease agreement with the composting facility in 2024.
The operating agreement doesn’t need to be renewed because of Agri Service’s agreement with Waste Management.