On any given day, Agromin’s Oxnard facility accepts dozens of tons of yard and lumber waste and uses it to make mulches and composts for its agricultural and residential customers. This is how they do it.
Most of the time, homeowners fit yard clippings in their curbside cart for regular curbside set-out, but occasionally, large jobs can result in a special trip to a yard waste recycling drop-off site.
Whether you hire a landscape contractor, a tree trimmer or your do-it-yourself gardening leads to haul-it-yourself recycling, knowing your options can save you time and money.
For much of Ventura County, yard waste drop-off recycling is in a period of transition. In western Ventura County, Gold Coast Recycling and Transfer recently had to adjust to permit limitations on their incoming traffic by banning commercial loads of yard clippings and lumber. If your load is being hauled by a landscaper or tree trimmer, Gold Coast staff will turn it away, recommending instead one of Agromin’s drop off sites.
For yard clipping and lumber loads Gold Coast accepts, the charge for recycling is the same as the charge for garbage, Gold Coast charges $61.15 per ton or $29.50 for half a ton or less. The lack of an incentive for recycling reflects economic reality; landfilling is actually less expensive than consolidating loads and hauling to a facility which charges to grind material into mulch.
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If you instead go directly to Agromin’s site near Oxnard, you will pay $52.61 per ton of yard clippings or lumber, with a minimum charge of $30. If your load has significant amounts of ivy, palm, yucca, or succulents, the cost rises to $65 per ton.
Agromin’s other alternative to Gold Coast is at the Limoneira farm near Santa Paula. Prices there are the same as Agromin’s Oxnard site, and neither Agromin facility accepts treated or painted lumber for recycling.
In this September 2016 file photo, Robert Gonzalez pulls a sheet of fabric from a pile of recently delivered yard waste at Agromin’s composting facility in Oxnard. (Photo: ANTHONY PLASCENCIA/THE STAR)
Rejection of painted lumber at Agromin is also a change. In the past, painted lumber was accepted, as long as there was no reason to suspect the paint contained lead. Swab tests were used to verify the absence of lead on questionable loads. Although paint is not accepted, nails and screws are allowed in lumber.
Oxnard’s Del Norte Regional Recycling and Transfer Station, the other major site in western Ventura County, also recently experienced changes. In March, due to a computer systems problem, the city could not handle cash and credit card customers and had to turn away customers who did not have existing utility billing accounts.
Issues were resolved, and Oxnard now charges $62.81 per ton for yard clippings or lumber, and $55.59 per ton for mixed garbage, with a minimum charge of $27.80 and an extra charge of $4 per ton for loads from outside Oxnard.
The Ojai Valley is also experiencing a disruption in recycling service for yard clippings and lumber. For over a decade, the Somers family operated the Ojai Valley Organics Recycling Center on a County-owned site at the end of Old Baldwin Road.
After struggling with regulatory and permitting challenges, Somers resigned as operator of the facility. Another company attempted to renew the permits, but the site had to close during the renewal process for the new operator.
Last week, this second company notified the county they will no longer pursue the site. A third company, Santa Barbara-based Progressive Waste Management, is now attempting to reopen the site.
In the east county, the two drop-off recyclers of yard clippings are Peach Hill Soils, in Somis, and the Simi Valley Landfill’s recycling operation. Peach Hill does not accept lumber and has other tight specifications, but charges just $48.50 per ton, with a minimum of $25.
The recycling center at the landfill charges $70 per ton for yard clippings or lumber, with a minimum charge of $45, and surcharges of $4 per ton or $3 per load for material hauled from outside Ventura County. Charges are the same for garbage.
Loads brought to Ventura County’s other landfill, Toland Road, cannot be recycled, since the landfill has no grinding equipment. However, the Calabasas Landfill, just over the Los Angeles border, recently added a recycling program, charging $45.19 per ton for yard clippings without lumber, as compared to $52.32 per ton for garbage.
Both the Toland and Calabasas landfills accept material only from limited portions of Ventura County.
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Eco-Tip is written by David Goldstein, an environmental resource analyst for the Ventura County Public Works Agency. He can be reached at 805-658-4312 or email@example.com.
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