Local News

Sunday, Jun 01 2014 02:00 PM

Ask TBC: Why are the recycling drop-off locations closing?

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Bakersfield City worker Cliff Uptigrove prepares to haul away a full recycling bin from the Bakersfield College parking lot and return it back to the lot empty Thursday afternoon. The recycling drop-off spots will soon close due to the distribution of blue recycling containers.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Bakersfield College Ag instructor Bill Kelly takes his recycling to the BC recycling area on the BC parking lot Thursday.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Bakersfield City worker Cliff Uptigrove prepares to haul away a full recycling bin from the Bakersfield College parking lot Thursday.

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By The Bakersfield Californian

Q: I noticed today that metro Bakersfield recycle drop sites will close June 30. Please tell me the reason for this decision.

I mainly recycle cardboard products at the Thorner Elementary and Bakersfield College sites, and as evidence of the bins always being full, so do other folks in the area.

There are only three sites listed that accept cardboard and they are not close; this means more cardboard will end up in the landfills that should be recycled.

-- Rick Tomlinson

A: The nine recycling drop-off sites operated by the city and county (eight in the Bakersfield area, one in Lamont) will close June 30 now that all of the blue bin recycling bins have been distributed in metro Bakersfield, said Bakersfield Solid Waste Director Kevin Barnes and Aurora Rush. special projects manager for the Kern County Waste Management Department.

What are people who live in apartments without recycling bins supposed to do?

Under state law, owners of multi-family residential properties with five units or more are now legally required to participate in recycling programs. Problem is, the law poorly defines what participation means and doesn't include an enforcement mechanism, Barnes and Rush said.

In the county's jurisdiction -- unincorporated areas of Kern -- the contract haulers are all set up to provide the service to multi-family property owners subject to the law. But not all apartment owners are signed up and providing the service, Rush said.

Rush said she couldn't estimate the compliance rate because the county has been focusing on getting businesses to comply with their recycling mandates. But next year, Rush said, her agency will focus more on bringing apartment owners into compliance.

Barnes said the city's tack -- and that of most cities and counties in California -- is much the same as the county of Kern's. He estimated only a couple dozen apartment owners in the city of Bakersfield are participating in recycling programs.

But he cautioned against passing too much judgment against those out of compliance because the city hasn't done a lot of outreach to them yet. Barnes said like the county, it has been focusing on business compliance and will focus on multi-family compliance later.

Q: I live in a county island in area 6 of your crime report. Does it include Sheriff's Office reports as well?

If not, how much trouble would it be to include them? Being so close to 5000 Belle Terrace and 1000-1200 MacDonald Way, which make it constantly in the report, worries me. There are people cruising the neighborhoods on bicycles and shopping carts left on all the streets. Cars blasting loud rap music all the time. There are no street lights in this area, which makes crime a lot easier to occur.

-- Robert Smith

A: Many people have asked us this lately.

The short answer is no, the crime maps we run each weekend do not include information from the Sheriff's Office. The office does not send us the information the way the Bakersfield Police Department does.

We approached sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt about the issue and at his request, we sent him the information the BPD sends us. We'll just have to see whether the Sheriff's Office and The Californian can work something out to expand what's reported in the crime maps.

Ask TBC appears on Mondays. Submit questions to asktbc@bakersfield.com or to The Bakersfield Californian, c/o Christine Bedell, P.O. Bin 440, Bakersfield, CA 93302.

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