ReGen Monterey Prepares for Limited Operations Due to Salinas River Flooding

In response to the rising Salinas River and potential inaccessibility between Salinas and Monterey, ReGen Monterey may be open with limited services Friday, January 13 and Saturday, January 14. Customers should expect long delays or refusal of loads until the facility can fully reopen when road conditions are safe. Please delay unnecessary delivery of materials from residential clean-up, landscaping, construction and demolition projects until ReGen Monterey is able to resume normal operations. Many essential employees throughout the facility may be unable to safely commute to work, which may affect our ability to fully staff each operation.

“The health and safety of our employees and customers is our top priority,” said Felipe Melchor, General Manager of ReGen Monterey. “We are encouraging everyone to follow the guidance of public safety officials and postpone unnecessary travel.”

Please check ReGenMonterey.org for the latest updates on facility operating hours and services.

In addition, curbside collection by your hauler may be delayed due to storm impacts. Should you have questions about collection, please contact your curbside service provider directly.

Thank you for your continued patience as we weather the storm together. Stay informed and check weather, flooding and road conditions. Monterey County residents are encouraged to sign up for Monterey County Emergency Alerts at alertmontereycounty.org. Information on road closures can be found by visiting Monterey County Public Work’s Road Traffic Advisories, Closures and Information page.

Feeding Organizations in Monterey County get a Boost from Local Jurisdictions

Feeding Hungry People and Not Landfills Reduces Climate Impacts

One in four people in Monterey County are hungry; the network of food pantries and food rescue organizations that serve those most vulnerable residents are mainly non-profits that rely on donations and volunteers.

To assist in expanding food recovery capacity, ReGen Monterey and Salinas Valley Recycles are excited to announce the Edible Food Recovery Grant Program. As food insecurity has no boundaries, all jurisdictions in Monterey County are working collaboratively to contribute to these grant funds.  This annual funding opportunity intends to award a total of up to $100,000 to non-profit organizations, businesses, or public entities that collect, generate, and distribute food to those in need within the County.

The new grant program, developed and administered in coordination with Blue Strike Environmental, kicked-off in June and awarded $20,000 each to the first five recipients: Pajaro Valley Loaves & Fishes, serving north county areas, Dorothy’s Place, serving the Salinas area, Meals on Wheels of Salinas Valley, serving the entire Salinas Valley, Victory Mission, serving Salinas and Peninsula Cities, and Shoreline Church, which serves all of Monterey County and its cities.  Each organization is using the funds to purchase various items including walk-in freezers, refrigerators, shelving, insulated meal carriers, etc.

The current Edible Food Recovery Grant cycle awarded a total of approximately $76,000 to the following five organizations: Boys & Girls Club of Monterey County, Salvation Army (Salinas, Monterey Peninsula, and Monterey County), and St. George’s Episcopal Church in Salinas. The next funding cycle will be announced in Summer 2023.

“This generous grant funding truly makes a difference in the lives of the working low-income families, farmworkers, and elderly, disabled, and unsheltered residents of the Pajaro Valley,” says Ashley Bridges, Executive Director at Pajaro Valley Loaves & Fishes and grant recipient.

This new funding opportunity supports California Senate Bill (SB) 1383 – Short Lived Climate Pollutants, which mandates a 75% reduction in landfilled organic waste and a minimum of 20% of currently disposed of food recovered for human consumption. Ultimately, the aim is to reduce the amount of edible food that ends up in landfills while redirecting that food for the good of our local communities.

“Edible Food Recovery is a new program for solid waste and recycling agencies across the state, so we are eager to see how the funds benefit and expand the existing local food recovery network,” says Patrick Mathews, General Manager & CAO at Salinas Valley Recycles.”

The grant is intended to expand and enhance edible food recovery programs at food rescue organizations and services operating within the region to better accommodate state mandates and broaden community operations by:

  • Increasing the capacity of local food rescue organizations and services operating within the County;
  • Assisting in funding the purchase of equipment (i.e., commercial refrigerators and freezers), materials, and supplies that increase the total pounds of edible food an organization is able to recover and distribute to those in need;
  • Improving the region’s ability to respond to and comply with SB 1383 mandates, enabling businesses to donate the maximum amount of edible or prepared food that would otherwise be disposed of; and
  • Ensuring food safety as edible food recovery donations increase.

Working together locally on the Edible Food Recovery Grant Program are ReGen Monterey; Salinas Valley Recycles; and the cities of Carmel- by-the-Sea, Del Rey Oaks, Gonzales, Greenfield, King, Marina, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Salinas, Sand City, Seaside, and Soledad; Monterey County; and Pebble Beach Community Services District.

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Additional Information

More about ReGen Monterey: ReGen Monterey is the public name of the Monterey Regional Waste Management District. We serve a population of approximately 170,000 in 853 square miles, including the cities of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Del Rey Oaks, Marina, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Sand City, Seaside, and the unincorporated areas of Big Sur, Carmel Highlands, Carmel Valley, Castroville, Corral De Tierra, Laguna Seca, Moss Landing, Pebble Beach, San Benancio, and Toro Park. Call 831-384-5313 for information or visit www.ReGenMonterey.org

More about Salinas Valley Recycles: The Salinas Valley Solid Waste Authority, a.k.a. Salinas Valley Recycles (SVR), is a joint powers agency made up of the following local governments: Monterey County (eastern half of the unincorporated county), and the cities of Gonzales, Greenfield, King City, Salinas, and Soledad. SVR owns and operates the only active landfill in the Salinas Valley, along with a recycling center and Household Hazardous Waste Facility just outside of Salinas, and a Transfer Station outside of King City. For more information visit www.salinasvalleyrecycles.org

Tossing a Battery? You’re Risking Lives and Property Along with the Environment

Most people know that batteries are bad for the environment. What many don’t know is that discarded batteries are a growing cause of potentially fatal fires.

Lithium-ion batteries are especially risky. Because they’re so efficient, they’re used in countless rechargeable products, including smart phones, power tools, electric toothbrushes, and even robotic vacuums. But if they’re not disposed of properly, they can suddenly burst into flames — and they frequently do, endangering everyone nearby.

Last year saw the highest incidents of fire in waste-processing facilities on record. In 2021, 367 fires were reported by US and Canada waste-processing facilities. But since many fires go unreported, the real number may have been as high as 2,200, according to Fire Rover, a maker of fire safety equipment. Two people were reported killed and 37 injured.

Security video provided by ReGen Monterey shows recycling-sorting machinery at its Monterey County facility suddenly bursting into flames because of a lithium battery in the stream. Employees close to the machinery were unharmed, but such fires are happening more and more often—averaging one fire per week at their facility—and are a constant concern.

A similar fire in San Carlos in 2016 caused millions of dollars in property damage and revenue loss.

“In addition to being toxic, lithium is extremely flammable,” said Zoë Shoats, ReGen Monterey’s Director of Communications. “Our employees watch out for it vigilantly and take precautions, but we need members of the public to help protect them too.”

A lithium-ion battery can ignite simply by being broken, exposing the lithium to air. Other causes include vibration, overheating, and short circuits, among others.

It’s easy to imagine how often such things can happen in a waste facility or vehicle, where batteries may be dropped onto hard surfaces, driven over, banged, or compressed and shredded inside machines.

In addition to fire, there’s a serious associated risk from the release of toxic chemicals such as fluoride gases, as described in a 2017 article in the journal Nature.

What can be done? Luckily, one high-impact measure is now easy and free: local residents can simply put their used batteries in a plastic bag and place them on top of their recycling bin for pick-up on collection day. Batteries should never go inside the bin, though, since even regular ones contain poisonous compounds that can leak into the environment and threaten health.

“Local municipalities and waste haulers have worked together to support this simple new system,” said ReGen Monterey’s Shoats. “Now we are asking everyone to make it a habit. We believe most people want to do the right thing. We’re going to show them how easy it is, and help them build the habit: batteries, bag, bin-top.”

The habit part is critical. According to a 2010 study sponsored by the California Product Stewardship Council, 59 percent of Californians knew it was wrong to throw batteries of any kind in the trash, but 56 percent did it anyway.

To help residents discard batteries the right way, the ReGen Monterey and Salinas Valley Recycles are sponsoring drive-through lithium-ion battery collection events being held by local Rotary clubs on Saturday, November 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Monterey, Salinas and Soledad.

Monterey – Monterey Peninsula College, 980 Fremont Street, parking lot A

Salinas – Salinas Sports Complex, 1034 North Main Street, main driveway

Soledad – The Circuit Family Fitness, 115 Alder Street, back parking lot

Residents are encouraged to drop off lithium-ion batteries which will be responsibly recycled, helping to build a clean energy future.

There are also year-round drop-off locations around the region, including ReGen Monterey’s facility just north of Marina, Madison Lane Recycling Center in Salinas, in city offices, and at some businesses.

More information about all kinds of local recycling and disposal can be found with the What Goes Where mobile app, or at WhatGoesWhere.info.

Early Closure on Saturday, December 3 at 2 p.m.

ReGen Monterey facilities will close early at 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 3 for an employee holiday gathering. We will reopen on Monday, December 5 at 7 a.m. Thank you for your understanding.

Las facilidades de ReGen Monterey CERRARÁN TEMPRANO A LAS 2 P.M. EL SÁBADO 3 DE DICIEMBRE para una reunión festiva para los empleados. Volveremos a abrir el lunes 5 de diciembre a las 7a.m. Gracias por su comprensión.

Lithium-ion Battery Collection Events on Saturday, November 12

Take charge! Dispose of your lithium-ion batteries properly at a community battery recycling event! Join us on Saturday, November 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Monterey Peninsula College, Parking Lot A, the Salinas Sports Complex at 1034 North Main Street, and the Circuit Family Fitness at 115 Alder Street in Soledad.

All household products containing rechargeable lithium-ion batteries can be dropped off, including (but not limited to) laptops, phones, tablets, power tools, electric toothbrushes, vaping devices, TV remotes and wireless headphones and numerous other devices and appliances. Batteries do not need to be removed. Other types of e-waste and regular household batteries will not be accepted.

Why is this important? When these flammable materials are disposed of in landfills or go through our recycling plant, the risk of fire can be dangerous to our local environment and the safety of our workers. In addition, these rechargeable batteries contain minerals in limited supply. Instead of environmentally destructive mining, we can recover these scarce metals from non-working or not needed products. With your help, manufacturers can recycle them into new electric vehicle batteries, which are highly in demand. Let’s take charge and mine the junk drawers of Monterey County!

Thank you to our partners the Monterey Cannery Row Rotary Club, the Salinas Valley Passport Rotary Club, the Soledad Rotary Club, Redwood Materials, ReGen Monterey, and Salinas Valley Recycles. Please visit www.lithionrecycle.com for more information.

Monterey Regional Waste Management District Updates Its Mission and Name

The world has come a long way since the “Monterey Peninsula Garbage and Refuse Disposal District” was founded in 1951. By modern standards, the organization’s mission was minimal: provide one sanitary destination for trash, which in previous years had been dumped all over—including in the ocean.

But the ensuing decades brought great progress in understanding of the environment and how to protect it. That led to a crucial update of the District’s mission: Waste shouldn’t just be disposed of, but managed, with the aid of ever-advancing technology and techniques for recycling, reusing, and reducing it.

That shift was reflected in a new name: the Monterey Regional Waste Management District (MRWMD). For over seventy-years, the MRWMD has established a record of leadership in waste management, as seen in the cutting-edge Materials Recovery Facility, a greatly expanded composting operation, and other innovations.

Now, the organization’s mission is being updated again: from managing waste, to reducing it towards an eventual goal of zero. The growth of knowledge and capability, locally and across the waste management industry, makes that goal ambitious but achievable.

To express this third-generation mission for the organization, the District Board of Directors recently approved a new name and logo:

“We’re planning for a future in which waste is no longer seen as an unavoidable problem that we just have to manage,” said Zoë Shoats, Director of Communications of the newly renamed ReGen Monterey. “After all, there’s no waste in nature, because nature continually regenerates itself. Our new name and logo express our commitment to making progress ever closer to that standard.”

The new identity also reflects some creative serendipity. Looking at the previous name, the communications team focused on its most meaningful part—the Monterey Region that the organization serves. The new mission meant not only safeguarding the region’s environmental health but helping to regenerate it.

“Monterey Region became Monterey ReGen,” said Shoats. “And then that became a simple, active statement of our mission: ReGen Monterey.”

“The logo expresses that mission visually. Classic concepts of waste management such as recycling have often been depicted as simple loops. But the new logo expresses the modern understanding of complex but harmonious systems, like those found in nature.”

Shoats points to some of the ways the logo achieves that:

  • Three green circles are inter-linked by a continuous blue line, evoking natural systems.
  • The green and blue represent the environment and health, as well as the land and sea of the Monterey Region.
  • The shape formed by the green and blue elements echoes the infinity symbol, evoking sustainability.
  • The deepening of the green from left to right indicates continuing progress towards the eventual goal of no waste.
  • That goal is also suggested by the similarity of a circle and a zero.
  • The implied white line creates the impression of three waves where it crests the blue line, evoking waves as a symbol of regeneration and of the Monterey Bay.
  • The shapes of the logo are echoed in the letters of the name, forming an integrated whole.

There’s an important, functional value to all this, says ReGen Monterey’s recently appointed General Manager, Felipe Melchor.

“No matter how much technology and knowledge we deploy, all progress depends on people, working individually and together, here and across the region” said Melchor. “By expressing our shared goal so simply and memorably, we expect our new identity will help unite us all in achieving it.”

The new name and logo will be rolled out over coming months as the organization’s public, “doing business as” identity. “Monterey Regional Waste Management District” will be retained as the name of the legal entity.

RFP Opportunity – Feasibility Analysis of the Monterey Microgrid and Renewable Energy Projects

You are invited to bid on consulting services culminating in a Feasibility Report for Monterey One Water (M1W) and the Monterey Regional Waste Management District (MRWMD), including:

1. Organics-to-Energy Study: Evaluate available energy and value of waste materials and byproducts, including sludge, food waste, and other organic wastes.
2. Monterey Microgrid Pre-Design: Analyze the existing and future energy needs of M1W and MRWMD to recommend a microgrid configuration for onsite renewable energy sources.
3. Economic Justice Analysis: Develop a 20-year financial plan including anticipated cash flow for the project alternatives selected from the feasibility studies above.

Firms may submit a proposal on one or any of the three work studies described above.

Monterey One Water will receive bids electronically through Procure until the closing deadline of Monday, August 1, 2022 at 3:30 p.m.

A mandatory pre-proposal and site meeting will be held on July 7, 2022 at 11 a.m.

Related documents:
Attachment A – Existing Operations Snapshot
Attachment B – Table of Waste Feedstocks and Waste Byproducts
Attachment C – EPA – Monterey One Water Grant – Work Plan and Budget Narratives
Attachment D – Conceptual Vision Summary Sheet
Attachment E – M1W Cogen Electricity
Attachment F – PSA Professional Service Agreement
RFQ-RFP Monterey Microgrid Project with attachments Final

For more information, please contact Yohana Vargas at yohana@my1water.org.

Artist in Residence Installation on May 3-14, 2022

Taylor Paige Prentiss, a Visual and Public Art (VPA) senior at California State University, Monterey Bay, has been selected to be the 2022 Artist in Residence (AIR) at the Monterey Regional Waste Management (MRWMD). The AIR Program is a partnership between MRWMD, CSUMB’s VPA department and the Last Chance Mercantile. Since 2016, student artists from CSUMB are selected for a fellowship at MRWMD. The artists work in the yard at Last Chance Mercantile. While on-site, they salvage for discarded materials in the store as well as the Materials Recovery Facility that processes the community’s recyclable items. Their discoveries are then upcycled into meaningful art.

Paige will present her project, “Home: The Things We Carry”, at a special installation from May 3-14 at Last Chance Mercantile, located at the MRWMD, 14201 Del Monte Avenue, north of Marina, in unincorporated Monterey County. The installation can be viewed during store hours, Tuesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The public is invited to a reception and meet-and-greet on Thursday, May 5 at 2 p.m. Paige will exhibit, discuss her work, and answer questions.

Taylor Paige Prentiss is a mixed media artist from Los Angeles. Her mediums include sculpture, illustration, digital art and photography. She will graduate with a B.A. in Visual and Public Art from CSUMB this May.

Artist in Residence Invitation

News Release in PDF