trash

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

National Historic Landmarks are typically associated with our country’s history—sites like the infamous island Alcatraz or Manzanar, one of the camps where Japanese-Americans were imprisoned during World War II.

Jessica Felix / City of Bakersfield Solid Waste Division

Recycling the right materials isn’t just a local issue—it’s international. China has historically been one of the U.S.’s top buyers of recyclables, but for over a year, it’s been putting restrictions on which materials it will import.

Those changes led cities and recyclers to scramble to find markets for their recyclables. Some have launched outreach campaigns to change recycling habits, some are raising rates for waste management, and others are simply stockpiling their recyclables until they can find buyers.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

 

On the campus of the Bakersfield ARC, employees can work in a number of places, but one of the noisiest is the material recovery facility. It’s where about half of the city’s recycling is sorted by material.

“On a daily average, we do anywhere from 28 to 35 tons a day,” says Andres Lopez, the Recycling Division Manager at Bakersfield ARC. “So we're doing a good chunk of the city's material.”

Alice Daniel /

Neighborhood Industries is a social enterprise. It takes a market-driven approach to business coupled with a non-profit mission to care for the environment and help people in need.

It all starts with too much stuff. The company will pick up your used clothes, stained T-shirts, old rags, ripped jeans, electronics, broken vacuum cleaners, and even random wires.  

“We have routes that service Fresno specifically. But we also service about 320, 330 donation bins between Bakersfield and Sacramento,” says CEO Anthony Armor.

On this week’s Valley Edition: Valley Public Radio gets trashy. Do you ever think about what happens to all of your garbage and recyclables? Well, some California cities are getting creative. And what about all of that ridiculous stuff piling up in your garage? There’s a company that wants it.  

We also explore a recycling program in Bakersfield with some novel - and controversial - labor practices.

Plus: Why is so much medical equipment thrown out before it’s expired? A Clovis organization is repurposing supplies from this enormous industry.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

The trade conflict between the U.S. and China is heating up, and while tariffs on the steel and agriculture industries have taken center stage, the conflict has quietly moved into another less visible sector: It’s greatly disrupted the recycling industry. These new policies are already affecting businesses, but over time they could impact residents and city governments and even undermine state environmental policy.

Visitors to Yosemite leave behind 2,200 tons of garbage per year. That is equal to 3,919 dumpsters full of trash.
Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park has a trash problem. The more than 4 million people who visit every year and those that live in Yosemite leave 2,200 tons of garbage there annually. The park service is working to decrease the amount of that trash that ends up in the Mariposa County Landfill.

To find out more about the park’s Zero Landfill Initiative, FM89’s Ezra David Romero  interviewed Yosemite National Park Ranger Jodi Bailey and Wildlife Biologist Caitlin Lee-Roney. Listen to that interview by clicking play above. 

City of Fresno Public Utilities

Opponents of the City of Fresno’s move to privatize residential trash pickup scored major a victory today. And according to Fresno mayor Ashley Swearengin, that means another round of layoffs for city employees could begin soon. 

The issue of privatizing Fresno’s residential trash service may soon be headed to a vote of city residents. Backers of a petition drive to stop the city from selling off the service to a private company learned today that they have gathered enough signatures to at least put a temporary halt to the effort.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition, Juanita Stevenson reports on the dispute between Fresno FAX bus drivers and the city of Fresno. Valley Public Radio’s Ezra Romero brings an updated report on the battle over Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin’s plan to outsource Fresno’s residential trash service. We also look to the effects of pollution caused by diesel in Kettleman City in a report by 89.3’s Rebecca Plevin. Jonathan London, an assistant professor of Human and Community Development at University of California, Davis, also chimes in on the discussion.

Ezra Romero / Valley Public Radio

The waiting game has just begun for both sides in the battle over the outsourcing of Fresno’s residential trash service.

For the past month opponents of Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin’s plan to outsource the city’s home trash service have hustled to collect signatures in order to meet a January 18 deadline to put the decision in the hands of voters.

More than 50 people escorted around 35,000 signatures in seven sealed white boxes into the City Clerk’s Office on Friday.

City of Fresno

Today was swearing-in day for a new crop of elected officials at Fresno City Hall. Two new council members, Paul Capgriolio representing District 4 and Steve Brandau representing District 2, were sworn in for the first time, as well as Lee Brand who was reelected to represent District 6.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition, Juanita Stevenson reports on plans by the city of Fresno to privatize residential solid waste. We also talk with Dan Stone of National Geographic who recently wrote about the city's recycling efforts, and find out why Fresno is one of the nation's leaders in this area. 

City of Fresno Public Utilities

It is a dirty job, picking up the trash of Fresno’s residents.

But it is also a job that has afforded 58 year old Joe Hill a decent middle income salary. Those at the top of the scale can make $22 an hour.

“I have a good job. I make a decent wage, but I don’t feel I am overpaid. I praise god for the job I have and how much I make. And I know there’s lots of people who make a lot less, but it’s not excessive,” says Hill.