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Recycling Program History

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Recycling in Davis began back in April of 1970, when a small group of environmentally concerned citizens began a newspaper drop-off recycling program. The group, later known as the Resource Awareness Committee of Davis, expanded the bi-monthly drop-off program to bottles and cans as well as newspapers.

A recycling center was opened at Aggie Villa in 1972 and the recycling committee incorporates into non-profit, Resource Awareness Committee of Davis.

Curbside recycling became available in Davis in 1974 with newspaper, then later that year, bottles and cans were added. A City ordinance was passed the same year that required separation of newspaper from other garbage. In 1976, Davis Waste Removal (DWR) became the City’s franchise waste hauler, collecting garbage, recycling and yard materials.

DWR has offered drop-off recycling at their recycling center since they first started collecting recycling in the 1970s. At first the drop-off recycling center only accepted paper, cardboard,glass, plastic, metals and motor oil during certain hours, but it quickly expanded. In 1994 DWR’s recycling center moved to its current location, 2727 2nd Street and began offering 24/7 drop-off recycling. In the fall of that same year, DWR began accepting empty aerosol and paint cans.

In 1989, the City adopted two groundbreaking ordinances and hired a recycling coordinator to implement them. One ordinance required recycling carts at apartments, the other required city departments to purchase recycled-content products.

The items accepted by DWR for curbside residential and commercial service has expanded over the years as well. In 1992, only clear or hazy colored plastics #1 and #2 were accepted for recycling. By 1994, colored #1 plastic was accepted and by 1998, colored #2 plastic was accepted as well.

In fall 2004, residential curbside service was upgraded from a manual to an automated pick up system. This change coincided with DWR’s purchase of new fleet vehicles and was principally driven by high worker compensation costs.

Each customer was given a 95-gallon trash container and a 64-gallon split cart for recycling. These replaced all containers that residents used for these services. A smaller trash container was (and still is) available upon request. With this conversion, unlimited curbside pickup was changed to an automated system that required all trash and recycling to be contained in the carts.

The conversion took place in two phases. The new trash carts were delivered to residents in October 2004 and the recycling carts in November. The recycling carts have two compartments for convenient loading. Paper and cardboard goes in one side and containers go in the other side.

All trash and recyclables must be placed inside the carts. The default sizes are one 95 gallon garbage cart and one 64 gallon split-recycling cart. At a customer’s request, different size trash containers are available (35 or 65 gallon) or/and additional trash carts are available for a fee. An additional split-recycling cart is available upon request at no extra charge.

Around the year 2000, the City Recycling Programs website, www.DavisRecycling.org came online. The website is continually updated with new information about programs, waste reduction tips and hazardous waste. In 2007, the website was upgraded to include downloadable posters, fliers for businesses and apartments, a Recyclopedia with reuse and recycling options for over 150 items, and a news section with recent articles and columns that address recycling and waste in Davis.

In 2007 DWR began accepting rigid plastics (#3, #5, #6 and #7) for drop-off recycling at their recycling center. In 2010 when a stable market was established for the material, they updated their sorting line and in January, 2011 they began accepting all rigid plastics #1-#7 in recycling carts.

Various Awards that the City of Davis Recycling Program has received include:

  • 1986 Davis Recycling Program was awarded for the best curbside program in the country by National Recycling Coalition.
  • 1991 Commendation from the US EPA
  • 1991 Merit Award from the California Department of Conservation Division of Recycling
  • 1992 National Recycling Coalition Public Education Award
  • 2000 California Resource Recovery Association Recycling Award, honoring the City’s recycling program for emphasizing waste prevention, reduction, reuse and buying recycled-content products.
  • 2012 California Resource and Recovery Association Pavitra Crimmel Reuse Award, honoring the City's Apartment Move-Out Waste Reduction Program (AMOWRP)