Trash Pickup Is Changing In Phelan & Pinon Hills

PHOTO: Adobe Stock Photo

As of July 2023, waste collection in California is mandatory. The Phelan Pinon Hills Community Services District recently sent out a mailer to residents that they must sign-up for solid waste collection or self-haul their solid waste to the Phelan transfer station. On the surface, this doesn’t sound like anything new for residents of the rural community.

For several decades, residents have had to haul their trash to the dump and, more recently, to the transfer station. It was just a fact of living in a rural community. In many yards, there could be seen a special trailer used only for trash; when it was full, it was time to head to the dump. Weekly trash collection has been available in the community for many years, but many opted to just take care of it themselves. However, with the passing of several state laws regulating the disposal of trash, organics, and recyclables, residents now have to navigate how these individual items get to their respective “trash piles.”

The State of California has mandated that all residents and businesses in the state must separate their trash into distinct categories in an effort to reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted from landfills and the amount of recyclable items making their way into those landfills. The State of California has also set mandatory recycling and emissions reduction goals for solid waste disposal, leaving the implementation and record-keeping to local agencies. If local agencies, such as the PPHCSD and San Bernardino County, are not compliant with the regulations or not meeting recycling and organics levels (compostable materials), then stiff fines can be assessed daily.

To that end, the PPHCSD, which assumed Solid Waste powers from the County of San Bernardino in 2011, is in the process of implementing the uniform collection of trash, recycling, and compostable materials. The District has had a long-standing contract with CR&R Environmental Services for solid waste collection within their District. The District has been working closely with CR&R to meet the new regulations and provide service for those who choose not to self-haul. While the process is still being worked out, most likely, CR&R will need to double or triple the number of routes for weekly pickup. Because three separate categories of waste need to be picked up, one route will be for trash, another for recyclables, and a third for organics.

Because the PPHCSD must track and report how much of each category is being hauled away, residents are required to subscribe to and participate in collection service with CR&R or self-haul to the transfer station with the caveat that they must keep receipts and complete an application identifying themselves as a self-hauler. All residents must sort their waste into separate containers for either CR&R pickup or drop-off at the designated locations at the Phelan transfer station.

The PPHCSD has created a section on its website with more information about the mandatory implementation of uniform collection and source separation. They also ask that residents complete their application on the website at or complete one at their District office located at 4176 Warbler Road, Phelan, CA 92371. Applications will also be sent out by mail.

Two of the main regulations are AB 939 and SB 1383. In 1989, AB 939, known as the Integrated Waste Management Act, was passed due to the increase in the waste stream and the decrease in landfill capacity. As a result, CalRecycle was established. The mandated responsibility of this department is to reduce waste, promote management of all waste materials to their highest best use, and to protect public health and the environment. To meet these responsibilities, the state legislature has given CalRecycle enforcement authority in local government waste diversion.

California’s Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction law, often called SB 1383, establishes methane reduction targets for California. SB 1383 sets goals to reduce disposal of organic waste in landfills, including edible food. The bill’s purpose is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as methane, and address food insecurity in California. Aspects of this law ensure that food scraps are composted.

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