Ventura will start its long-awaited curbside recycling program in October--without newspapers.
Newspapers, which are easily recyclable and which take up 5% of all the room in the nation's strained dumps, will continue taking up room in Ventura County's Bailard Landfill because of a glut of recycled newspapers on the market, officials said this week.
"There's going to be a lot of strong comment," said Wayne A. Bruce, Ventura Regional Sanitation District general manager. "Here we've trained people to be environmentalists, and now they may feel we're pulling the rug out from under them."
"It's not that we don't want to pick up newspapers," added Nan Drake, a Ventura City Council member who also serves on the sanitation district's board of directors. "We just can't find a market for them."
The bins that used to dot the county, where people would drop off old newspapers for charities to sell to recyclers, have been removed. The Santa Clara Landfill on Gonzales Road in Oxnard still accepts newspapers for recycling, paying about $5 a ton, which is equivalent to a load in a large pickup truck, Bruce said.
Ventura's program will start with 1,000 homes in the neighborhood just below Ventura College on Oct. 2. By April, it will spread to 5,000 homes in neighborhoods around the city selected for ease of access, density and low turnover, said Terry Edelman, coordinator of the program.
Homes in the pilot areas will each be given two 101-gallon plastic cans--one for glass and one for aluminum recyclables. The other can will be for garbage that cannot be recycled: everyday trash, including newspapers.
Edelman, the city's finance director, said the city will consider offering the program to its remaining 15,000 homes after studying the public's reaction. But expanding it also means the construction of an "intermediate processing facility" where garbage will be separated, he said.
Still, nobody knows when a market for recycled newspapers will re-emerge.
More than 200 bills have been submitted in Sacramento this year, including measures aimed at requiring newspaper publishers to use newsprint that has been manufactured with certain percentages of recycled paper.
Many publishers have resisted such suggestions, saying highly recycled paper tears too easily in the press.