California County Touts Recycling Program Changes

California community says its switch to single stream has yielded higher volumes.

Residents in the RethinkWaste service area in and around San Mateo, Calif., have been recycling more by volume because of Rethink Waste’s new CartSMART weekly recycling, compost and garbage collection services, the group is reporting in a news release.

Residential single stream recycling tonnages are up by 33.5 percent during the first quarter of 2011 in comparison to the same period last year, says Rethink Waste. The compost volume has increased by 28.9 percent for the same period, while the garbage volume has decreased by 19.8 percent.

The data comes from comparing the tonnages reported in the first quarter reported submitted on April 30, 2011 by Recology San Mateo County (RethinkWaste’s new service provider as of January 1, 2011) against the figures submitted in Allied Waste of San Mateo County’s first quarter 2010 report.

Recyclables collected grew from 8,110 tons in the first quarter of 2010 to 10,800 tons in the first quarter of 2011. Compostable materials collected grew from 13,300 tons in the first quarter of 2010 to 17,200 tons in the first quarter of 2011.

The additional recycling and composting activity helped the volume of material landfilled in the Rethink Waste district from 18,800 tons in the first quarter of 2010 to just 15,000 tons in early 2011.

“Our 450,000 residents should be extremely proud of their efforts to pitch in and help the environment every day through their active participation in the CartSMART program,” says Kevin McCarthy, executive director of RethinkWaste. “These recycling and compost totals are quite remarkable and reflect in part the simple, smart design of our new weekly collection programs.”

The new CartSMART program consists of a three-cart system for residents for their recycling, compost and garbage service: a blue cart for recycling, a green cart for compost and a black cart for garbage.

All three carts are collected weekly, replacing a system of every-other-week collection of recyclables and yard trimmings that used a combination of tubs, carts and customer-provided cans for the services.

RethinkWaste says it will be rolling out a campaign targeted at business recycling later this year and will work with Recology to attract business customers.

Formed in 1982, RethinkWaste is a joint powers authority comprised of 10 cities, the County of San Mateo and the West Bay Sanitary District. The agency’s legal name is the South Bayside Waste Management Authority (SBWMA.) More information on RethinkWaste can be found at its website at