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Garbage cans must be stored out of view now
Garbage cans on Hugo Avenue
Ceres residents can no longer store their garbage cans out in public view, as seen here. The Ceres City Council recently changed the Municipal Code to not allow the practice. - photo by Jeff Benziger

If you’ve been in the habit of leaving your garbage containers in public view during the six days of the week when Bertolloti Disposal isn’t collecting your trash, you now need to put them away.

Judging by the fact that lots of garbage cans are not being stored behind a fence or some other screening device, many residents may not have heard that the Ceres City Council reverted back to the old policy in hopes neighborhood will appear less cluttered.

In January 2020 the former City Council led by Mayor Chris Vierra voted 3-2 to allow residents to be leave their cans out as long as they are next to the house. At no time did the city allow cans to be left directly in front of the house or garage. Under Mayor Javier Lopez, the new council voted on June 28 to revert back to the old “store your cans out of view” policy. The change went into effect in late July, according to Toni Cordell of the city Public Works Department.

The council was compelled to get residents to store their garbage waste-wheelers out of view because on Jan. 1 all Ceres households will be using a third can. The black container will be used for regular household waste; the blue container for recyclables including aluminum cans, glass bottles and jars, plastic jugs and bottles; and the green can will be for co-mingled organics, including leaves, grass clippings, weeds, garden waste, tree pruning, shrubs, newsprint, cardboard, paper, food waste and food-soiled paper. Each container will be labeled to remind residents what can and cannot be placed in each can until it becomes routine.

The third can is a result of a state legislation mandating organics recycling.

Another primary change is that the city will continue to offer the leaf and limb program but only seasonally and not year round. The new leaf and limb season will run Oct. 1 to Jan. 9.

While some residents view dealing with a third can as a hassle, the city hopes they’ll see it as a blessing since they’ll have more capacity for green waste. Residents will be less tempted to dump lawn clippings in the gutter – which is illegal – since those and leaves can now go in the green organics can and not take up space in the regular household waste can.

Damas said the extra container should also result in fewer cans being set at the curb overfilled with the lids unable to be closed. Bertolloti crews have long been instructed to not pick up overstuffed cans.

While garbage can violations can be found throughout Ceres and with a limited code enforcement unit, many have disregarded the city law. In October 2019 Ceres City Councilwoman Linda Ryno faulted the city’s lack of enforcement as the reason many flaunt the garbage can storage restrictions. She insisted that with more code enforcement personnel that the city could have done a “quadrant by quadrant (sweep)” to … get it all manageable again.” Ryno also suggested that there will be more opportunities for people to rummage through garbage cans since they won’t necessarily be behind the fence.