Environmental update: Be a smart recycler

By From page A5 | November 05, 2013

The state of California requires all jurisdictions to recycle 50 percent of their waste every year. This waste diversion is measured in weight, not in volume, so a few heavier things sent to the landfill count more than a larger quantity of lighter materials.

Davis residents recycled 64 percent of their waste last year and the goal is to recycle 75 percent by 2020. We like to see everything that can be recycled placed in the appropriate bin, but are even more appreciative when heavier materials like glass, paper and cardboard are recycled.

Businesses have the option to collect food scraps — a very heavy component of the waste stream — and our goal is to start a pilot program soon to start collecting residential food scraps for composting as well.

Do you ever find yourself wondering if something is recyclable? Check out our recycling display case at City Hall, 23 Russell Blvd., this month — it’s chock full of recyclable items. If you haven’t already, be sure to visit our online Recyclopedia at DavisRecycling.org. More than 200 items are listed, with local options for reuse and recycling.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when recycling:

* In Davis, steel cans, aluminum cans, clean aluminum foil, aluminum pie plates, rigid plastics (including plastics #1-#7), metal and plastic caps and lids, milk jugs and glass food and beverage containers can all be recycled.

For single-family homes, these items can be placed in the half of the recycling cart with the blue lid. For apartments and businesses, these can go into the recycling cart labeled “glass, plastic and cans.”

* Newspapers, magazines, catalogs, junk mail, phone books, office paper, cereal boxes, shredded paper and small cardboard boxes can all be recycled with paper. Paper can be placed in the half of the recycling cart with the black lid (for single-family homes). For apartments and businesses, these can all be placed in the recycling cart labeled “paper.”

* Cardboard boxes larger than 2 cubic feet can be flattened and placed on the ground next to the recycling cart for pickup.

* For those of you in single-family homes with split recycling carts, yes, it does matter which side of the recycling cart you put your materials in. When the recycling truck empties the cart, the paper goes into one compartment of the truck, and the bottles and cans go into a separate compartment.

* These items cannot be placed in the recycling carts: plastic grocery bags, plastic film, Styrofoam, light bulbs, food-soiled paper, wax paper, milk cartons, juice boxes, ceramics and glass dishes.

* Cleanliness counts. Rinsing cans and bottles makes them easier to process.

* Pay attention to what goes in your recycling bin, and be an accurate recycler. A cereal box is great to recycle, but a greasy pizza box with lots of cheese isn’t. Milk jugs are good, but milk cartons are not recyclable because of the plastic film coating on the paper carton.

If you still have a question about how to recycle or dispose of something, check your recycling guide, go online to DavisRecycling.org or call Davis Public Works at 530-757-5686.

Starting Dec. 1, single-family residential customers will be charged a variable rate depending on the size of their garbage cart. If you already have requested a change in your garbage cart size, please note that new carts are on order and change-outs may not occur until the end of November.

Cart change requests placed by Nov. 21 will see their rate reflected on the December utility bill, even if the larger carts have not yet been swapped out with smaller carts. Requests made after Nov. 21 will see a rate adjustment on future bills. For details, see DavisRecycling.org.


Autumn is here, and leaves are falling! Leaf litter piled up in the gutters can impede drainage and lead to standing water. Please help us keep our streets clean and safe by following these guidelines when placing yard waste on the street:

* Try to park your car off the street on yard waste pickup and street-sweeping days;

* Never park your car on top of, or within 3 feet of yard waste piles;

* Place your yard waste at the curb as close to collection day as possible;

* Place yard waste piles 18 inches from the curb and do not block fire hydrants, driveways or storm drain inlets with yard waste piles.

* Bike lanes should never be blocked. This may mean that your yard waste pile cannot be 5 feet wide if it obstructs the bike lane.

For more information, visit DavisRecycling.org or email me at [email protected].

— Jennifer Gilbert is the city of Davis conservation coordinator. Her column is published monthly.

Jennifer Gilbert

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