Temecula approves 12% rate increase for commercial waste and recycling customers

The Temecula City Council listens to a staff report from Pat Thomas, director of public works, on proposed rate increases for commercial waste and recycling customers. Valley News/Courtesy photo

The Temecula City Council approved a 12% increase to commercial solid waste and recycling rates at its Tuesday, July 28, meeting.

The city has a franchise agreement with CR&R Incorporated for refuse collection and recycling services. Per the terms of the agreement, rates for customers may be adjusted on an annual basis each July 1, according to a city staff report.

Commercial rates were due to adjust for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, including a 1.8% increase due to consumer price index changes as well as a $0.76 per month increase in landfill fees. However, CR&R also requested an additional increase of 9.98% of current commercial recycling rates, which it attributed to two factors: compliance with state-mandated recycling programs as well as what’s known as the “China Sword” ban on recycling imports, Pat Thomas, director of public works, told the Temecula City Council.

The state-imposed programs referenced by CR&R are mandatory commercial recycling and commercial organics recycling requirements related to two laws, Assembly Bill 341 and Assembly Bill 1826, which were passed in 2012 and 2014, respectively.

The laws affect businesses, as well as public entities or multifamily residential dwellings of five units or more, that generate 4 cubic yards or more of solid waste.

“China Sword” refers to China’s ban in 2018 on imports of most plastics and other recyclable materials.

In recent decades, China has handled nearly half of the world’s recycling, and the import ban has caused difficulties for recycling programs around the world.

“Without that market being there, it reduces the revenue that CR&R can generate on the sale of recyclable materials,” Thomas explained to the council.

The total rate adjustment CR&R requested for commercial customers amounts to about 12%, though rates vary based on bin size and frequency of collection.

CR&R also requested the implementation of a one-time setup fee of $50 for new commercial accounts.

The council unanimously approved the rate increases and the setup fee without discussion.

Will Fritz can be reached by email at wfritz@reedermedia.com.