Garbage and Recycling Programs change

By Candace Anderson, Contra Costa County Supervisor                                                   

In my role as County Supervisor, I have the privilege of sitting alongside city council members on many boards and commissions. The Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority (CCCSWA) is one of those boards.  It oversees the collection of residential and commercial garbage and recycling.

The CCCSWA was formed in 1996, under a Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement (JPA), to address the then rapidly increasing garbage rates and to comply with state regulations mandating a reduction in garbage going to landfills through recycling and other diversion programs. It is governed by a Board of Directors composed of two representatives from each Member Agency; the municipalities of Danville, Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Walnut Creek, and the Southwest end of unincorporated Contra Costa County, including Alamo, Diablo, Blackhawk and the Tassajara Valley.  Over the past 19 years it has been very successful in keeping our rates some of the lowest in the Bay Area while reaching high diversion goals.

This past year, after months of reviewing over 100 names and logo options, CCCSWA is rebranding itself to the public with the more user friendly name of Recycle Smart. The name change rolls out in conjunction with exciting new changes in service.  Beginning in March 2015, Republic Services (formerly Allied) will be the collection company for your trash, recycling, yard trimmings and food scraps and Mt. Diablo Recycling will be the processor of recyclables.

As part of this new collection service there will be new low-emission, state-of-the-art collection trucks, different-colored garbage and recycling carts, and an expanded range of services.  Republic Services and Mt. Diablo Recycling were chosen as the hauler and recycler after a three year, open, public bidding process.  These two companies were selected because they met the desired goals of keeping rates low for the customer and increasing recycling so that more garbage is diverted away from landfills.

Watch for a mailer from Republic Services arriving soon with all the details of when your new carts will be delivered and information about the new materials being recycled.  In addition, the next issue of Diversions, the quarterly newsletter from Recycle Smart/CCSWA will arrive in mailboxes in February and March and will provide a complete review of the new services.

New containers will be delivered to residents from April through July and there is going to be a color change. Blue carts will now be for recycling. Green carts will continue to be used for landscape trimmings but you will also be able to use it for food waste.  All of the material in your green carts will be composted. Black carts will be for trash going to the landfill.

New items that you will be able to recycle include plastic single use grocery bags, all plastics #1-7, compact fluorescent lights, and batteries. It is recommended that you put all of your single use plastic grocery bags inside one of the bags and then place it in the blue recycling container. This makes them easier to recycle and prevents them from blowing away. Household batteries can be put into a ziploc bag and then placed on top of the blue recycling container.

You will receive the same size carts you currently use, with an option to change service as needed. The new carts will be delivered the day before your normal collection day, with the old carts being removed on the normal collection day.  Old carts will either be recycled or reused in in other markets the company operates in.

One of the most popular programs of Recycle Smart/CCSWA has been our Reuse and Cleanup Days.  Republic Services will continue to provide two scheduled “community” reuse and garbage cleanups each year, and residents will still be able to schedule one personal on-call cleanup day annually where up to 14 bags of garbage will be picked up.  You will be notified by mail at least two weeks in advance of your community cleanups. For your on-call cleanups, please call Republic Services at (925) 603-1144 or visit their website at

Currently, over one-third of the waste generated by the CCSWA communities consists of yard and food waste. Home composting is another effective way to reduce waste and Recycle Smart/CCSWA can help you get started. Enroll in a Vermicomposting & Bin Building Workshop and learn to compost with worms! Call (925) 906-1801 x306 or visit the Recycle Smart/CCCSWA website at for registration.

Lastly, please continue to properly dispose of unwanted prescription drugs by dropping them in a collection bin at your local police department. Help keep drugs from entering our water supply through the sewer system; you should never flush medication down toilets or drains.  Locations to drop off prescription drugs or medical sharps can also be found at

My office is here to serve the residents of Contra Costa County District 2, which includes San Ramon, Danville, Alamo, Walnut Creek, Saranap, Parkmead, Lafayette, Moraga, Canyon and Orinda.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us if we can provide you with additional information on this topic or on other County issues.  I can be reached at [email protected] or 925-957-8860.