Carts on display by Recology at an October 2018 Hollister City Council meeting. The green cart is part of the bundle of new rates. Photo by Noe Magaña.

Information provided by San Benito County Integrated Waste Management Regional Agency.

Recycling is about to become easier for residents and businesses of San Benito County. Starting Nov. 1, customers within the San Benito County Integrated Waste Management Regional Agency (IWMRA) service area will have access to new recycling and organics (food scraps and yard trimmings) collection programs provided by Recology San Benito County.

Back in September, residents and businesses received new, color-coded wheeled containers for recycling (blue), organics (green) and garbage (gray). In the green organic’s container, customers can place food scraps, yard trimmings and food-soiled paper products (pizza boxes, coffee filters, paper napkins, etc.). The organic materials collected will be composted into nutrient-rich soil amendments at the Recology South Valley Organics composting facility in Gilroy, CA.

The new organics collection programs are needed to meet new state mandates per Senate Bill 1383 that require a 50 percent reduction in landfill disposal of organic waste by 2020 and 75 percent reduction by 2025.

In addition to new carts and organics collection, customers are expected to be able to recycle more with the following new services and special events:

  • Free curbside bulky item collection up to twice per year for residents for recycling or disposal of old furniture, mattresses, appliances or electronic waste.
  • Free e-waste collection events three times per year where residents can drop off televisions, computers, laptops, cell phones, game consoles, radios, stereos and small electronics with a cord.
  • Free paper shredding events three times per year to help residents securely destroy confidential documents onsite at the event.
  • Free compost giveaway events three times per year so residents can get free compost (helps soil retain moisture and reduce weed growth).
  • Free onsite recycling technical assistance and training for businesses and multi-family properties to help increase recycling and reduce garbage bills. Businesses get free educational materials, training and recycling containers.

All the new services and special events are included in the solid waste rates that residents and/or businesses pay; there are no separate charges or fees for these services and special programs, according to a recent press release.

“These new services are a big leap forward for our environmental programs in the County as mandated by the state of California,” San Benito County Supervisor Anthony Botelho said in the press release. “Our local residents and businesses will receive new and convenient recycling services at a good value.”

Goals of the new programs are to significantly increase recycling and help the IWMRA meet the Assembly Bill 939 requirement of 50 percent diversion from landfill and other waste reduction mandates. Costs for the new programs are included in the customer’s garbage bill, the press release said, and will be effective Nov. 1, 2018. Residents and businesses who effectively use the improved organics and recycling services can see their garbage bill decrease by reducing garbage service levels, the press release said.

“I’m glad to see all these new services offered to our city residents and businesses, especially the curbside bulky item collection twice a year,” Hollister Mayor Ignacio Velazquez said in the press release. “The launch of the new recycling services took several years of planning and was the result of a successful competitive Request for Proposal process. I look forward to a continued successful partnership with Recology as our recycling and garbage hauler.”

San Juan Bautista Mayor Jim West echoed the comments from Botelho and Velazquez.

“San Juan Bautista residents and businesses will get improved recycling services and more convenience to help us meet state recycling laws,” West said in the press release. “We have residents and business owners who are interested in programs to help the environment and these new services give us the opportunity to reduce waste to the landfill and help the environment.”

Additionally, Recology San Benito County is acquiring new trucks powered by a cleaner renewable diesel that has lower emissions than other fossil fuels, including traditional diesel fuel and compressed natural gas. Renewable diesel is not made from fossil fuels, it is produced with various vegetable oils and animal-based waste fats with reduced emissions that will help meet the state’s emission reduction requirements under Assembly Bill 32. The new trucks are expected to be on the road by April 2019.

“As an employee-owned company, Recology is committed to the wellbeing of the communities we serve,” Recology General Manager Phil Couchee said in the press release. “We have been part of the San Benito County community for years, and we’re excited to support the County’s diversion goals by providing these new programs and services to all customers.”


The San Benito County Integrated Waste Management Regional Agency includes the cities of Hollister, San Juan Bautista and unincorporated San Benito County. The agency was formed in 1995 to provide a united, cost-effective process to meet state mandates under California’s Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), reduce waste, manage programs to safely dispose of household hazardous waste, provide recycling education and resources to residents and businesses, manage grants and other waste reduction and sustainability programs to meet its mission.