Two trash bins may soon be in your driveway

Directors of the Costa Mesa Sanitary District may vote Tuesday to approve an organics recycling program that would require residents to sort their trash.

Ratepayers enjoy the rare and relative luxury of putting their refuse into a single bin without having to separate recyclables from other types of waste. Under this proposal, residents would receive two bins: one for organic material and another for the rest of the trash.

According to the district, organics include food scraps and garden clippings. Most of the waste would be converted to renewable natural gas at an under-construction anaerobic waste facility in Perris.

The sanitary district's five directors delayed their vote Jan. 23, citing a need to continue public outreach and make sure everyone knows what's at stake.

"We're not trying to shove anything down anyone's neck," Director Arlene Schafer said during the January meeting.

Officials say the program is needed to get closer to a zero-waste scenario and reduce what's sent to landfills.

How the organics recycling program, estimated to cost about $504,000 annually, would affect rates hasn't been determined.

Officials have said a roughly $4-million district reserve fund could be used to start off the program for the first few years before fee increase are enacted.

The proposed six-year organics recycling contract is with Stanton-based CR&R; Waste and Recycling Services. The 64-gallon organics bins would be collected by a different truck but on the same day as the rest of the trash.

In November, the directors approved steps to began an environmental review of the program. That study ruled that the new program would have a negligible impact on the district's service area.

During the January meeting, some ratepayers were skeptical of the plans. They cited concerns about odors, animals raiding the bins and having more bins take space on already-crowded streets.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. in Sonora Elementary School's multipurpose room, 966 Sonora Road, Costa Mesa.

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