Garbage woes in Mendocino County; closure of recycling centers and garbage cans galore • The Mendocino Voice | Mendocino County, CAThe Mendocino Voice

MENDOCINO COUNTY, CA, 07/29/22 – Parts of Mendocino County have been hit by lined trash cans, while others have lost or are at risk of losing beloved recycling centers.

Here is the last one:

Arena Point

Point Arena’s recycling provider, Recology, sought to shut down the recycling facility at Arena Cove during a dialogue session during Tuesday’s city council meeting.


“This is not a recycling center,” Recology representative Fred Stemmler said. “It’s a dump.”

Ongoing contamination issues from “a few bad actors” disposing of waste in recycling bins have rendered much of the recycling collected unusable, he pointed out.


“These recycling centers predated curbside collection for the most part in the communities I’ve seen,” Stemmler said, underscoring the case for closure. “The service has evolved.

Point Arena City Manager Paul Andersen opposes the center’s closure and offered suggestions to alleviate the problem. These included Point Arena limiting center hours, hiring an attendant to monitor incoming materials, and posting educational information outlining what can and cannot be recycled.

Although residents can receive recycling pickup with their home trash pickup at no additional cost, many who do not receive trash or recycling at home rely on the recycling center, as pointed out by the board member Anna Dobbins. According to the report, the South Coast Transfer Station on Fish Rock Road would be the closest facility if it were to close.

“I think it’s really important for us to maintain access and the ability to have this service,” she said.

Ultimately, the board determined that Dobbins and fellow board member Richey Wasserman would lead an ad hoc committee exploring solutions for the recycling center.


“You are clearly involved and participating in this meeting, and I look forward to you coming together and receiving your response,” Chairman Scott Ignacio said.

Those who want more information on committee meetings can contact the town hall.

Mendocino County

The City of Fort Bragg and unincorporated areas of Mendocino County served by Waste Management terminated their contracts with the carrier on June 30; many were concerned about the doubling of trash and recycling bins from new carriers, as Waste Management introduced a two-week schedule in July to collect its old bins.


The goal was to pick up all the bins by July 22, but some were still on the streets of Fort Bragg — along with new bins from C&S Waste Solutions — at the end of July. Mendocino’s Voice could not reach Waste Management or Fort Bragg Public Works for an updated pickup schedule at the time of publication.

Pudding Creek

Waste Management’s disposal and redemption center on Pudding Creek Road – which used to buy recyclable materials like aluminum cans and plastic bottles – is also now closed, but has turned into a graveyard for collected trash. Coastal residents who want to claim California’s cash value for bottles and cans must go to Willits, a change that has sparked considerable outrage on Facebook.


According a message on Twitter of Mendocino County 5th District Supervisor Ted Williams, C&S Waste Solutions hopes to replace him. Williams said the company is looking for a land-use-compatible location to build another redemption center on the North Shore, and state approval will take 90 days when a site is identified.

“The opposition may delay,” he wrote. “Your guess is as good as mine.”


After years of debate over the location of the Central Coast Transfer Station, many options are still in play and several others have been ruled out, following further site assessments along Highway 20 requested in May.

The committee’s favorite sites are still a parcel of land at Jackson Demonstration State Forest and the site of the existing transfer station, according to a report of the Joint Coordinating Committee Thursday.

“There are no obvious new candidates for another location on Highway 20,” Tom Z. Varga wrote in the staff report.


Varga also said that acquisition costs and environmental factors have changed significantly over the past 15 years, since research began on a new site.

“The previous staff estimate of $200,000 to directly acquire an undeveloped five-acre site with no merchantable timber may now be low,” he wrote. “Second, the transitional pygmy forest habitat has become much more controversial and development in this area can be expected to respond to much stronger environmental concerns.”

Share other trashy situations happening around the county with [email protected]and stay tuned for more in-depth stories about waste management in Mendocino County.