Recycling program needs to improve |

Recycling program needs to improve

A new management team has been called in to fix a recycling problem on the West Slope.

If one part of El Dorado County is not recycling as much as it should, it keeps the entire county from reaching its goals, said Jon Morgan, county environmental manager.

The California Integrated Waste Management Act of 1989 required each city or county to recycle 25 percent of its garbage by 1995 and 50 percent by 2000. The state, however, granted El Dorado County and other counties in the state, an extension until 2004 to reach 50 percent.

The company that serves Placerville — Waste Management Inc. — received a notice of default on its contract from the county in July for overcharging customers, sending separated recyclables to a landfill and not providing satellite recycling centers, Morgan said.

Waste Management Inc., the largest refuse company in the world, has responded positively to the default notice, Morgan said. A new management team was put in place by the company and on Tuesday the team sat down with the county to discuss its waste problems.

“We met with them for four hours,” Morgan said. “We are making progress. The new management is very concerned that they become the shining star we think they are.”

Even though the refuse plants at Placerville and South Lake Tahoe are similar, Placerville is only recycling 15 percent of its waste. South Tahoe Refuse recycles about 40 percent.

In addition to replacing management at the plant, real-time surveillance cameras will be installed so the county can monitor waste handling. Similar technology will likely be installed at South Tahoe Refuse. It would update a video system already in use.

— Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at

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