Amid 12-foot high mounds of soil, Larry Roy Rosalez pulls on thick leather gloves as he prepares to wade into compacted piles of stuff thrown into organic recycling carts.
One of the workers at New Earth Compost, he walks along the long lines of piles, pulling out what doesn't belong: bags of trash, dead animals, discarded Halloween masks and other holiday decorations.
When he's through, he uses an earth mover to push the piles into a mound that will become compost. For more than three years, he’s worked through blistering heat and chilly winds as the city’s lone organic monitor.
“It’s easy,” Rosalez said, walking among three trails, eyeing material for trash, “it’s a piece of cake.”
According to the city’s 2016 proposed budget, Rosalez won’t be alone much longer. The plan calls for an additional 20 sorters, along with sorting and pre-processing equipment, and a covered open shed, making it similar to the local recycling plant.
Soon, all residents will be given green wheeled bins for organics. The program will be rolled out over 18 months and will be available to 190,000 customers in fiscal year 2016. The remainder of residents will take part in fiscal year 2017.