Orange County stopped collecting fees for curbside recycling in both the towns and the more densely populated unincorporated areas of the county in July 2013, following a state Supreme Court ruling finding similar fees unlawful. These services are now temporarily paid for from other county solid waste funds. This is not sustainable, and Orange County must find another way to continue funding recycling collection services.
While the towns appear on board with implementing fees to keep municipal curbside collection programs running, unincorporated areas present different issues since counties do not have the same legal authority as municipalities to collect fees for service. After much deliberation, the county commissioners are considering two new funding options for unincorporated areas. One is to establish a rural Solid Waste Service Tax District to provide universal curbside recycling. The alternative is opt-out, subscription-based recyclable collection service. A Solid Waste Service Tax District is supported by the Orange County Commission for the Environment.
We encourage all Orange County residents to become informed about the specifics of proposed recycling options by reviewing materials on the County Website and to participate in public hearings scheduled by the Orange County Board of Commissioners (March 18 and April1) or call or email the county commissioners.
Jan Sassaman is chair of the Orange County Commission for the Environment and former chair of the Orange County Solid Waste Advisory Board. David Neal is the past chair of the Orange County Commission for the Environment.