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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Online survey displays public support for Davis’ organics program

Davis Together::Engage website launches survey

The City of Davis conducted an online survey on the website Davis Together::Engage, an online forum that focuses on improving communication between residents of the city to the city hall through easily accessible online forums.

During the month of February, the City of Davis posted an online survey and forum with focus on its Organics Program.

“The survey was only used to get an idea of how the community felt about the program, and some of the questions and concerns that the citizens had regarding the program,” said Jennifer Gilbert, City of Davis conservation coordinator in an email interview.

The program, a part of Davis’ effort to reach 75 percent waste diversion by 2020, includes the replacement of yard waste piles to 95-gallon containers for weekly pick-ups. According to the forum description, waste diversion can be done by reducing waste through recycling, reuse or composting. One of the major changes brought by this program is that the City will start collecting and composting organics, rather than sending them to the landfill.

“Currently yard waste is collected only in loose piles on the street. The proposed program would still have on-street yard waste piles, but would also include an organics cart for yard waste and food scraps, paper towels, paper plates and other compostable materials,” Winton said.

According to Winton, there were a few major topics that came to light in the forum. They included concerns of the space needed for the additional cart that entailed the question of sharing the can with neighbors. Some people were also concerned with odors and pests associated with the cart.Another major topic was on collection of Christmas trees, which the city explained, through a presentation posted in the city website, is a part of the waste yard pile and can be placed in organic carts though they residents may need to trim the trees or cut them in half first.

According to Gilbert, the program is currently in the design and planning stage. The survey and forum was one of the city’s effort to increase public discussion and involvement, and gather feedback. The city will continue to have such efforts in the next several months as they continue to further enhance the Organics Program’s details.

“The Organics Ordinance… provides the general framework for the proposed Organics Program while still allowing for public discussion and involvement to continue in order to solicit feedback and input on several technical details, including “Opt-Out,” “Share-a-Can” and variable rate options, free kitchen food scrap pails for customers and potential rebate programs for mulch mowers [and] chippers,”  said Gilbert.

According to Stacey Winton, City of Davis Media and Communications Officer, 344 people participated in the survey. The demographics based on gender were 67 percent female and 33 percent male, and based on age group were 21 percent of 25-34 years old, 30 percent of 35-44 years old, 15 percent of 45-54 years old, 21 percent of 55-64, and 13 percent of over 65 years old. She adds that the City of Davis’s goal with this social media tool included widening the access to city discussions and gathering the opinion from various community groups on both major and minor planned changes in Davis, including the Organics Program.

“It is going to be a major change in the way that yard waste will be collected citywide. We wanted a broader perspective of all residents, whether they live in a house, or apartment, knowing what kind of issues they may see with this change,” said Winton.

According to Jessica Seigel, Unit Director of UC Davis’ Project Compost, many Davis residents have contacted their organization because of their interest in composting their food waste. The organization is interested in cooperating with the city of Davis to better inform the residents on composting and waste separation, as well as continue to promote composting in the university.

“We are constantly getting emails from people in the community and people who were living in apartments who wants to compost….There are so many people that really want to not throw away their food scraps, they know that there’s a better use for that waste than sending it to the landfill. [The program] is [going to] allow many people to divert their food waste from the landfill,” Seigel said.

The results of the survey will be included in the program’s proposal that is scheduled to be reviewed by the City Council on April 7. According to Gilbert, the city will also have upcoming community meetings to listen to the residents’ input and answer questions on the program, which will be held on Tues., April 7 at 10:30 a.m. in the Davis Senior Center Valente Room, at 646 A Street and Thurs., April 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the Stonegate Country Club Main Room at 919 Lake Boulevard.

Graphic by Jennifer Wu.

In the April 2 article “Online survey displays public support for Davis’ organics program,” it was reported that Christmas trees cannot be placed in organics carts. Christmas trees can be placed in the organics cart, however they might need to be trimmed or cut in half first.

 

 

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