Green Waste Composting

Green WasteGreen waste makes up a significant portion of the solid waste that is disposed of by residents in Del Mar. Green waste includes yard waste, leaves, grass clippings, landscape wood waste, and weeds. Diverting this material to use as compost is recycling, and treating the organic material as a resource rather than waste keeps methane-producing materials out of the landfill. This helps extend the usable space of the landfill and meets California’s mandatory organics recycling requirements. 

In September 2014, then Governor Brown signed AB 1594 mandating that as of January 1, 2020, the use of green material as alternative daily cover (ADC) no longer constitutes diversion through recycling and will instead be considered disposal. As of January 1, 2020, Del Mar’s green waste is being composted in order to comply with the intent of AB 1594 and maintain the City’s commitment to sustainability.

Composting is processing organic material so that it can be added to soil to help plants grow.  Adding finished compost to soil improves soil texture, helps soil retain moisture, reduces run-off, and naturally increases nutrient content to help sustain healthy plants. Healthier plants are more resistant to pests and disease. While composting comes with increased costs, it is a cost-effective means of recycling the organic section of the solid waste stream and an essential part of an integrated solid waste management plan.

About Green Waste Proposed Rate Increases

Preparing green waste for composting comes with increased costs. The tipping fee at Palomar Transfer Station, where Del Mar’s green waste is taken for processing, has increased from $40/ton to $70/ton as of January 1, 2020 to account for the increased processing needed to properly prepare green waste for composting. This tipping fee will further increase to $74/ton as of July 1, 2020. The cost increase since January 2020 has been accrued by Waste Management (WM), the City’s franchise waste hauler, and requires reimbursement.

To support the increase in cost to process green waste materials, new proposed recycling and solid waste rates are being requested and would be effective August 1, 2020. To cover the backlog of costs owed to WM from January 1- July 31, 2020, the new rates amortize those costs over the remaining term of the franchise agreement with WM, through June 30, 2022. 

The proposed increase to the recycling and solid waste rates due to increased costs for green waste recycling is 9.8% as shown below. The proposed residential rates vary depending on the size of the trash container utilized by the customer. Residents are given options of either using a 35-, 64- or 96-gallon trash container. The rates for multi-family and commercial customers will depend on the size of the bin for green waste services and the frequency of collection.

About Recycling and Solid Waste Services and Rates

The City of Del Mar provides recycling and solid waste services to its residents and businesses as outlined in Section 11.20 of the Del Mar Municipal Code. These services are provided through a franchise agreement with WM (“Agreement”). The Agreement was approved by the City Council in March 2012 and established residential, commercial and multifamily rates for various recycling and trash services, which were most recently approved in Spring 2017. Residential solid waste services include weekly collection of trash, recyclables and green waste. Commercial solid waste services include collection of trash, recyclables and green waste as frequently as scheduled by the customer, but not less than once per week.

The Agreement sets forth a formula for calculating rates and subsequent adjustments, which include variables such as Consumer Price Index and disposal fees. Waste Management is required to provide notice of any rate adjustments along with a revised schedule of rates. Under the terms of the Agreement, rate adjustments are made up of five components: Service, Disposal, City Program Funding, Franchise Fee, and Tonnage Fee. The proposed monthly rates reflect an increase in the Disposal component of the rates, which is adjusted to reflect the change in the applicable green waste tipping fee at Palomar Transfer Station, as approved by the City.

Increased Green Waste Rates

See the proposed monthly rates for recycling and solid waste collection service levels for August 1, 2020 below. For a full breakdown of the rates for all service levels, including those not impacted by the green waste cost increase, view the Monthly Rates document (PDF).

Green Waste Compost Rates August 1, 2020

Protesting the Rates

In compliance with Proposition 218, Article XIIID of the California State Constitution, and the Proposition 218 Omnibus Implementation Act, the City of Del Mar is hereby notifying all affected property owners of the proposed rate increase for City of Del Mar customers. The Del Mar City Council will consider the proposed rate increase at a Public Hearing via teleconference on Monday, July 20, 2020 at 4:30 PM. The Town Hall will not be open to the public for this meeting. All interested persons are invited to participate in the public meeting remotely. If the City Council adopts the rate increase at the Public Hearing on July 20, 2020, the new rates will be effective on August 1, 2020. The rate increase is for the composting of green waste in compliance with California Assembly Bill (AB) 1594.

Pursuant to the State of California Executive Order N-25-20, and in the interest of public health, the City is temporarily taking actions to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic by holding City Council Meetings electronically, resulting in adjustments to the public protest process. At the Public Hearing, the City Council will hear and consider all testimony concerning the proposed increases to the solid waste rates. If you oppose the proposed rate increase, your protest must be submitted in writing to be considered. Written protests must be submitted to the City Clerk’s office by noon on Monday, July 20, 2020. Written protests may also be delivered in-person to a drop box at the Del Mar Civic Center, located at 1050 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, during the Public Hearing. 

Written protests must contain: a statement indicating your opposition to the rate increase, the Assessor Parcel Number (APN), the service address, and the signature of the property owner. Please send all protests to City Clerk’s Office: City of Del Mar, 1050 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, CA 92014.

If written protests are submitted by a majority of affected property owners, the proposed rate increases may not be implemented. Owners of multiple properties must file a separate written protest for each property. Only one written protest per parcel will be accepted. Protests sent by e-mail or fax and protests received after the Public Hearing is closed will not be accepted. Public comments at the Hearing will not qualify as a formal protest unless accompanied by a written protest.