Waste Changes & Contamination/Overage Fees FAQs
What Is Changing?
Starting January 1, 2021 several changes will be coming to waste hauling services in Emeryville, including:
- Increased enforcement of residential cart overages (after two warnings)
- Fees for major contamination of recycling or organics containers (after two warnings)
- A one-time 10% increase in cost to maintain hauling service levels
Rates for discards collection continue to be some of the lowest in the entire Bay Area, and are well below neighboring cities, as shown below. These changes are the result of new State regulations and updated costs to reflect the actual cost of waste and recycling processing.
Table 1 - Comparison of Rates with Neighboring Cities
Single Family 32-gallon
1-yard bin; 1Xweek
3-yard bin; 1Xweek
40 yard bin
Food Waste Discount
96 gal no cost
* Source StopWaste Recycling and Solid Waste Collection Report 9-13-18
To find out more about contamination and overage fees and how to prevent them, visit our page on contamination and overages.
Why Are Services Changing?
Because of increased regulation of landfilled waste and changes to international recycling markets, waste sorting requirements are becoming more stringent. Material previously sent to overseas markets to be recycled is no longer accepted and local facilities cannot process loads of materials contaminated with non-recyclable items. Additionally, overages in containers cause a significant impact to local systems through scattered litter, clogged drains, and polluted runoff and debris entering the Bay.
In September 2016, Governor Edmund Brown Jr. set methane emissions reduction targets for California (SB 1383, Lara) in a statewide effort to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants and combat the climate crisis. Organics like food scraps, yard trimmings, paper, and cardboard make up half of what Californians dump in landfills. Organic waste in landfills emits 20% of the state’s methane, a climate super pollutant 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and air pollutants like PM 2.5 which contribute to health conditions like asthma.
SB 1383 targets include:
- Reduce organic waste disposal 50% by 2020 and 75% by 2025.
- Rescue for people to eat at least 20% of currently disposed surplus food by 2025.
To achieve these targets CalRecycle developed a series of rules for cities to implement in their waste services. In addition to this, Waste Management (WM) contracts for recyclables and compostables require them to maintain very low levels of contamination to enable them to be processed. Reduced contamination acceptance levels are largely due to the change in recycling exports due to the China National Sword policy and increased reliance on new recycling facilities.
What Happens Next?
Starting January 1, 2021 rates will be automatically updated in the annual rate change process. Current rates can be found on the Waste Management website.
Contamination and overage fees will be rolled out only after multiple violations and warnings with photographs from Waste Management. After two warnings for violations, an additional notice will be sent out that an initial fee will be charged on the next bill. If customers have questions or believe the fine is in error, they can call Waste Management at (510) 613-8710 for clarification or to contest the charge.
For any questions about which items can be recycled or composted, please visit the Re:Source sorting tool created by Alameda County StopWaste agency.
How Do I Learn More?
Phone: (510) 613-8700 - Business
(510) 613-8710 - Residential
Learn more about SB 1383 on the CalRecycle website.