Organics-pickup decision due

The Costa Mesa Sanitary District will vote next week on whether to adopt an organics recycling program estimated to cost $504,679 a year.

Under the CR&R; Environmental Services program, residents would be asked to sort their refuse and put organics, such as garden trimmings and food waste, into a separate bin.

To accommodate more members of the public, the Jan. 23 meeting will take place at the Neighborhood Community Center, 1845 Park Ave., Costa Mesa, and not at the district's West 19th Street headquarters. It will start at 5:30 p.m.

The materials would be collected the same day as the other trash, but by a separate truck. The organic matter would then be transferred to another facility and primarily converted into renewable natural gas.

District officials say the program ultimately would reduce landfill waste.

How the changes could affect rates hasn't been determined. On a case-by-case basis, households without food scraps or green waste would be able to opt out of the program, district officials said, though doing so is not likely to shield them from potential rate increases.

The board also has the option of delaying its decision next week to gather more public input, said Scott Carroll, the district's general manager.

Two recent town hall meetings about the organics program, on Dec. 17 and Jan. 11, drew about 60 people each, he said.

In November, the board directed the district’s staff to do an environmental analysis of the program.

Carroll said the review effectively determined that no more in-depth environmental studies are required

If approved, ratepayers won't see their organics bins until around November, he said.

[For the record, 5 p.m. Jan. 16: An earlier version of this story should have clarified that the district’s board voted in November to initiate an environmental review that would study any impacts resulting from a proposed organics recycling program.]

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