Rancho Mirage Environmental Programs
New – Mandatory Commercial Recycling
The State Governor signed legislation in 2011 that requires mandatory commercial recycling for businesses that generate 4 or more cubic yards of waste weekly. The legislation also requires recycling for multi-family dwelling units of five or more units, regardless of the amount of waste generated. The new law takes effect on July 1, 2012.
The City will be contacting businesses and multi-family property owners in the spring to help educate them on the new law. Owners should be preparing for this new law by locating areas for recycling bins and advising their tenants of the new law. See More
For more information about the mandatory commercial recycling, please go to http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/climate/recycling/
Turf Conversion Program
The Turf Conversion Program offers rebates to residential, commercial and Home Owners Associations for converting turf to water efficient desertscape landscaping. The Program is a partnership between the City of Rancho Mirage and the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD). Rebates at $1/square foot of replaced turf are paid by both the City and CVWD. For example, a homeowner replacing 1,000 square feet of turf is eligible for $1/sq. ft rebate from CVWD and $1/sq. ft. rebate from the City for a total of $2,000. Residential rebates are limited to 1,000 square feet and commercial/HOAs are limited to 5,000 square feet. Funding is limited and on a first-come first-serve basis. Funding for Fiscal Year 2012-13 begins on July 1, 2012 at which time applications may be filed.
Interested parties seeking to participate in the Program will first need to contact the Planning Division for required applications and plans submittal. Once the City has reviewed and approved the submitted plans, an application can be submitted to Coachella Valley Water District. For further information, please contact the Rancho Mirage Planning Division at (760) 328-2266.
- Rancho Mirage has approved at least five (5) LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings, including office buildings, apartment buildings, and the first LEED certified retail commercial center to be built in the Coachella Valley.
- Rancho Mirage's Conservation and Open Space Element of the General Plan promotes the conservation, efficient use and thoughtful management of energy sources and mineral deposits as well as the long-term viability of limited and non renewable resources.
- Rancho Mirage's Draft Section 19 Specific Plan includes Green Builder guidelines and development incentives.
- The City features environmental information and recycling opportunities in its quarterly newsletter, MirageScape.
- Approximately 33 restaurants are participating in the City's food waste program. This program is diverting tonnage that would otherwise go to the landfill. The food waste is mixed with green waste at California Bio-Mass in Thermal and recycled into agricultural products.
- Recycling at Rancho Mirage special events has increased. The City provides and places recycling containers at all special events in order to capture beverage container recycling. The City also ensures that all cardboard is recycled and even stations someone at the containers to ensure that all items that can be recycled are recycled.
- Consultants constantly monitor and adjust, via the internet, both City Hall and Library HVAC (heating/ventilating/air conditioning) systems in order to save energy and operate efficiently. All City facilities have been upgraded with energy efficient lighting and upgrades to building HVAC equipment and software.
- Rancho Mirage promotes energy efficiency and conservation in all areas of community development, including transportation, development planning, and public and private sector construction and operation, as well as in the full range of residential and non-residential projects.
- Rancho Mirage's use of 26 watt fluorescent lighting fixtures as opposed to 150 watt incandescent bulbs in Citywide landscaping lighting has reduced energy consumption. The City also uses fluorescent lighting in all City facilities to further reduce energy consumption.
- Rancho Mirage was the first City in the Coachella Valley to convert its traffic signals from incandescent lamps to LED lamps, which was done in 1999. The City's use of LED (light emitting diode) traffic and pedestrian signal indicators as opposed to incandescent lighting has reduced energy consumption by 66%.
- The City supports public and private efforts to develop and operate alternative systems of solar and electric production that take advantage of local renewable resources.
- Rancho Mirage evaluates all new proposed projects for solar protection in order to reduce heat gain and promote energy conservation (overhangs on window and doors).
- Rancho Mirage was the first City in the Palm Springs Valley to be a Community Energy Efficiency Program (CEEP) jurisdiction.
The City of Rancho Mirage Public Library, which opened in 2006, was designed with an HVAC (heating/ventilating/ air conditioning) system that uses four air handlers to efficiently balance the energy requirements for the building to conserve energy. A new "chiller" for the HVAC system (funded by a grant) was installed in 2010 and increased energy savings at the library.
- Rancho Mirage purchases CNG (compressed natural gas) or ELEV (extremely low emitting vehicles) vehicles in order to reduce vehicle emissions. In addition, through a grant, Rancho Mirage has purchased two hybrid vehicles which are used for travel around the Palm Springs Valley.
- The City promotes energy management and conservation efforts of the Sunline Transit Authority and encourages the expanded use of compressed natural gas and hydrogen, buses with bike racks, and other system improvements that enhance overall energy efficiency and conservation. (Bus stops with solar panels).
- Rancho Mirage promotes the development of pedestrian-oriented retail centers, as well as community-wide multi-use trails, bike paths and other desirable alternatives to motor vehicles. The City maintains a network of equestrian and pedestrian trails as well as bike and cart paths which provide the infrastructure for alternate methods of transportation to motor vehicles (Map on the website). Rancho Mirage has 23 miles of Class I meandering bike paths behind curb paths and nine miles of striped Class II on street bike lanes. All major arterials will someday have both Class I paths and Class II bike lanes.
- Rancho Mirage enforces compliance with all applicable SCAQMD (South Coast Air Quality Management District) requirements throughout the City. Additionally, the City utilizes its water truck to maintain PM10 (airborne particulate matter smaller than 10 micrometers in diameter) compliance on all public properties.
- All proposed projects are reviewed by the City for potential adverse effects on air quality.
- The City encourages the use of naturally occurring desert plant materials and discourages the use of non-native plant materials that are harmful to local plant and animal species in landscaping for development projects to the greatest extent possible.
- The City built (1999-2000) and maintains the Bighorn Sheep Habitat Safety Fence which has resulted in the complete elimination of endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep deaths due to urbanization.
- The City contracts with the Bighorn Institute (BI) annually to provide input to the City as to how best assist the endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep that reside in the mountains adjacent to Rancho Mirage. The BI inspects the bighorn sheep fence on a monthly basis and does minor maintenance. They also provide a quarterly report to the City on the health of the bighorn sheep.
- The City built and maintains a "guzzler" (artificial spring) for the bighorn sheep and other wildlife in the Preserve area in the hills south of Highway 111 near City Hall.
- Use of rubberized asphalt as overlay material on City streets makes use of recycled used tires per AB 939 regulations.
- The City's new library utilizes recycled rubber tiles in the Children's Room as opposed to carpeting or some other surface material.
- City Street Maintenance staff collects debris on and along the City's streets. Trash is properly disposed of and tires or recyclable items, such as wood, metal or green waste, are transported to permitted recycling facilities for processing.
- The City offers cash incentives to contractors building City facilities. These incentives are based on the percentage of solid waste diversion achieved. As an example, during construction of the Library, over 87% of all construction debris was recycled, due in part to the recycling incentive program.
- The City encourages the reduction and recycling of household and business waste by incorporating conditions of approval that require recycling during project construction and recycling facilities be designed into all proposed projects.
- The City supports Riverside County's Backyard Composting Programs.
- The City operates a Business Waste Reduction Program. City staff or its consultants are available to assist businesses in utilizing internal source reduction practices, such as reusing packaging material (i.e. pallets and shipping crates).
- The City has a "Buy Recycled Procurement Policy" and a "Government Source Reduction Program" which require the use of vendors that offer supplies with recycled content and the use of two sided copies, durable plates, mugs and electronic file storage.
- In 2006, the City passed an ordinance requiring all construction and demolition sites to recycle all recyclable materials on-site. Ordinance #918 (Title 17 of the RMMC) has resulted in approximately 28,000 tons per year of materials being recycled.
- The City requires all new commercial and residential projects to provide sufficient space within and outside any proposed building to properly accommodate recycling containers in conjunction with our service provide Burrtec Waste and Recycling.
- The City operates a residential curbside commingled (metal, plastic, aluminum, paper, cardboard) recycling program. Residential neighborhoods, through the use of wheeled carts, recycle commingled items.
- The City maintains a Residential Recyclable Drop-Off Program where residents can bring commingled (metal, plastic, aluminum, paper, cardboard) recyclables to the City's franchise trash haulers yard for recycling. Additionally, the City requires its franchise hauler (Burrtec) to operate a Buyback Center at which residents can turn in eligible recyclables for cash. Some shopping centers in the city also have recycling facilities for their tenants and the zoning code has requirements for other commercial recycling facilities (Section 17.30.180 RMMC).
- The City requires Burrtec to accept and recycle, at no charge, any residential green waste delivered to the franchise hauler's yard by any Rancho Mirage resident.
- The City requires Burrtec to provide a commercial on-site recycling program. Cardboard and commingled recyclables are collected and recycled.
- The City operates commingled and cardboard recycling programs at all City facilities including City Hall, Library, Fire Stations, Public Works Yard, all Rancho Mirage owned senior housing facilities and all City parks.
- The City ensures that all special events within the City recycle to the greatest extent possible. The Kraft Nabisco Championship, for example, recycles about 4 tons of cardboard and tens of thousands of beverage containers every year. Recycling containers for beverage containers are provided by the City through grant funds.
- During the holiday season, the City conditions Burrtec to provide holiday greenery recycling. All residents can have their holiday trees or other greenery picked up on their normal solid waste service day. All greenery is recycled. Additionally, the City provides a program for residents to recycle holiday wrapping paper and cards. The collected paper is reused by local students in art programs.
- The City regulates and monitors green waste hauled by commercial haulers from Rancho Mirage.
- In Fiscal Year 2011-12, the City and Burrtec kicked off a no-charge curbside pickup of bulky items to its residents. Residents who make an appointment may have bulky items picked up on their regular recycling/trash day at no charge.
- The City provides children's programs designed to increase recycling awareness. Two examples of this are the annual children's recycling program where children create art from recycled materials and the attendance of the "Rad Hatter" at the Art Affaire. The Rad Hatter raises children's recycling awareness by allowing children to construct hats from recycled materials.
- The City continues to make available free technical recycling services to all businesses, schools and homeowner associations in Rancho Mirage. The City also contracts with a consultant to monitor construction and demolition recycling activities.
- The City produces various recycling promotion pieces throughout the year that are available at City facilities (City Hall and Library) and/or mailed to residents and businesses. Examples include recycling wheels (which detail what can go in a commingled container), Construction and Demolition Handbooks (booklets that inform contractors what local facilities are available for construction and demolition recycling) and various other commercial and residential brochures promoting recycling.
- The City has a household hazardous waste (HHW) program which is free for City residents by calling (800) 449-7587. The HHW program covers the following:
- Sharps or needle disposal service via U.S. Mail
- Free pick up at your residence of household hazardous waste such as household batteries, fluorescent tubes, paint, insecticides, car batteries, oil, etc. If you have a pick-up of HHW scheduled and have e-waste (electronic) to dispose of, it can be picked up for free.
- Large bulky e-waste (e.g. televisions, computer monitors) can also be picked up for free by scheduing a bulky item pick up with Burrtec.
- The City cooperates with the County of Riverside by allowoing a free HHW collection event at the Rancho Mirage City Hall each year - usually in January. Valley residents may drop off HHW at this event at no charge.
- The City holds 3-4 document shredding events annually for its residents. All collected documents are shredded and the resulting material is recycled. These events also allow residents to drop off e-waste (electronic) at the same time. The shredding events are held at the City Hall parking lot.