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3 Can Conversion

Please Note: Unfortunately, residents scheduled to receive their new refuse and recycle can on May 14th, 15th or 16th is being delayed to June 4th, 5th, and 6th. 

A letter explaining the reason was sent directly to your billing address.  If you have further questions, please contact the Utility Call Center at 1 (833) 268-2455 or email

Say goodbye to the split can!

No more split trash cans, Visalia! During the months of March through June, your split can will be converted into a blue-lid can for recyclables and you’ll receive a new gray-lid can for trash. Your green waste can will not change.

With three cans, sorting will be easier, and you'll have more room for trash and recyclables.  It’s easier for you and better for the environment. All pick-up dates will remain the same, and there’s no additional cost to you.

Curious when your street will be converted?

For more information email or call 1 (833) COV-BILL, or 1 (833) 268-2455, and press option 4.


How will the conversion work?

The Solid Waste team will work street by street, starting in March. What does this mean for residents?

  • The week before your street is converted, your cans will be marked with a large, orange sticker letting you know that your conversion day is coming and reminding you to roll out your cans on your normal pick-up day.

On your usual pick-up day, you'll roll out your cans as normal. We take it from there!

  • As usual, a solid waste truck will drive by and empty the split can, and the driver will continue on their route.
  • Later that day, a delivery crew will come by and deliver the new containers. Each home will receive one new refuse container and one new/refurbished recycling container. Both the refuse and recycling container will be fitted with a RFID tag.
  • A second crew will follow closely behind the delivery crew. This crew will remove obsolete split containers and/or refurbish split containers for use at a recycling container.

Wondering about your green waste can?

  • When your green waste pick-up day comes, you'll place your can(s) curbside, no matter if they need to be serviced or not.
  • A solid waste truck will drive by and empty the green waste containers and the driver will continue on their route.
  • A crew will follow the solid waste truck and will install RFID tags on all green waste containers. No new green waste cans will be delivered and no green waste cans will be removed.


Preparing for weekly pick-ups

Once your cans are converted to the three can system, just about everything else about your weekly pick-up will remain the same. Here are some things to remember:

  • Cans can be rolled out for collection the preceding day after 6 p.m. and before 5:30 a.m. on the day of your pick-up.
  • Cans should be placed one yard (three feet) apart. Please remember, solid waste trucks cannot efficiently empty cans if they are less than a yard apart.
  • Each can's handle should be facing your house.
  • Cans should not be overfilled or have materials spilling out.
  • Cans should be clear of any obstructions (away from cars, mailboxes, tree limbs, etc.)
  • Remember to always place items in the correct cans. Avoid contaminating recyclables and green waste by putting refuse in the black can, recyclables in the blue can and yard waste in the green can.



Why is the City stopping the split can system?

The split can system was implemented to enhance the City’s recycling efforts and has been very successful at helping Visalia to achieve that goal.  But today’s increased level of recycling means that many of Visalia’s residents no longer have sufficient space in the spilt can.  This has simultaneously resulted in a reduced ability to recycle and greater contamination of recycled materials.  With three separate cans (trash, recyclable and green waste), more space means sorting will be easier, thus improving Visalia’s recycling efforts.


Whose idea was this?

City residents have expressed their opinions on the subject, both for and against, for several years.  The comments have been primarily in favor of phasing out use of the split cans.  The decision to switch to the three-can system was ultimately made by City Council after careful consideration.


How will this affect my monthly utility bill?

Despite the increase in capacity, there will be no increase to the cost of a customer’s monthly solid waste service.  In fact, a majority of customers currently paying for extra split cans will see a decrease in their monthly solid waste fees.  


How much is this costing me as a ratepayer?

The overall project cost is $4.8 million,   City anticipated the cost of this project when setting the current rate structure, so customers will not see an increase in their solid waste rates as a result of this project.   


How will I know when my new pickup days are?

Your pick-up days will not change.  Refuse and recycle containers will be collected on the day your split can is currently collected; both containers should be placed curbside on this day.  Containers should be no closer than three feet apart to facilitate collection. Green waste will continue to be collected on the same day as it currently is picked up.   You can determine your collection days by visiting the lookup tool above or by calling 1-833-COV-BILL (1-833-268-2455) and selecting option 4.


How do I know when my conversion week is coming?

In addition to other outreach efforts, a postcard indicating the scheduled conversion week will be sent to each customer in early March.  A second postcard will be sent two weeks prior to the customer’s conversion week.  One week before the customer’s conversion week, a reminder sticker will be placed on the customer’s split can lid.


Why are some neighborhoods getting converted first?

There are approximately 40,000 customer accounts spread over 40 solid waste routes.  Conversion will proceed, one route per day, over the course of about three months.  The route conversion sequence was selected randomly.  


I live in a County island.  What about me?

If you live in a County island and receive residential solid waste service through the City of Visalia, you are part of this change.  


I live in an apartment complex.  What about me?

Only those residents currently utilizing split containers for their trash service are affected.  Those customers utilizing a commercial bin, which includes many residents living in an apartment complex and sharing bin service, will not be affected.  Rule of thumb: if you don’t currently use split cans, you will not see any changes to your solid waste service.  If you do utilize split cans, you are part of this change.

Will I get a new can?

All existing split cans will be taken out of service.  Everyone will receive a new can for refuse (grey lid) and a new or refurbished can for recyclables (blue lid).  Customers will continue to utilize their existing green waste cans.  


Why are some split cans being refurbished for use as recyclable (blue lid) cans?

The useful life of a solid waste can is 20 years and many of the existing split cans still have plenty of life left in them.  These split cans will be refurbished and used for recyclables: the divider will be removed and the lid will be replaced with a blue lid.  Refurbishing these cans maximizes use of the City’s investment and reduces the overall cost of the project, helping to keep customer rates in check.


What is happening to the old split cans that cannot be refurbished?

Split cans that cannot be refurbished will be recycled.


Can I keep my old refuse containers or can I buy old cans the City is getting rid of?

No.  The old refuse containers are the property of City.  These containers will be recycled and the proceeds thereof used to offset the cost of the conversion project.  Old split containers will no longer be serviced after the conversion project is complete.


What about my green waste can?

Green waste cans are not being replaced.  If a customer currently pays a fee for additional green waste cans, all extra green waste cans will remain with customer.  However, a small radio frequency identification (RFID) tag will be installed on each green waste can to improve customer service.


What’s that thing attached to my can?

In order to improve customer service and streamline the trash collection process, each can is being equipped with a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag.  This is the same technology that is used in retail stores to monitor inventory on various consumer goods such as clothing and electronics.  For the majority of containers, the RFID tag is integrated into the handle and not visible.  However, some containers, including most green waste containers, will be retrofitted with an external RFID tag.  When the container is emptied, an RFID reader on the solid waste truck scans the RFID tag and records the time and place that the container was emptied.    


What is happening to the trucks that are used to collect the split cans?

City currently has 19 solid waste trucks that are specifically configured to collect split cans.  These trucks will be modified to enable them to collect refuse, recyclables, or green waste (one at a time, not simultaneously).  The cost for the modifications is about $7,500 per truck (about $140,000 total).  As a comparison, a single new truck costs about $350,000. 


If I move, can I take my cans with me?

No.  When you call to establish service at the new address, containers will be delivered to you.

What do I put in the refuse / recycle / green waste can?

The material that does into the trash and recycle cans is not changing; you’ll just have more room for what you already do!  To make things easier, new lids on the refuse and recycle cans will contain information on what material should be placed inside each can.  


Am I losing my senior discount because you switched me to a dumpster?

As part of the ongoing effort to provide convenient and affordable solid waste service, City routinely evaluates various high-density residential areas to determine whether they would be better served by utilizing shared bins instead of residential containers.  The decision for or against switching is made in consultation with the affected property owners.  This process is unrelated to the 3-can conversion project.  To discuss your individual circumstances, please call Nathan Garza at 559-713-4532.


How will the conversion process occur?  What will it look like to me?

  • On Customer’s normal trash day:
    Customer will put all split containers curbside, regardless of whether they are full or empty.
  • A solid waste truck will drive by and empty the split can and the driver will continue on their route. 
  • Immediately following will be a delivery crew.  A delivery crew will deliver the new containers and record the serial numbers, the type of can (trash or recycle), address, and geocode.
  • A second crew will follow closely behind the delivery crew.  This crew will remove obsolete split containers and/or refurbish split containers for use as a recycling container.  When this crew leaves, replacement of the split can is complete for the customer. 
  • On customer’s normal green waste day within the same week:
    Customer will put all green waste containers curbside, regardless of whether they are full or empty.
  • A solid waste truck will drive by and empty the green waste containers and the driver will continue on their route. 
  • A crew will follow the solid waste truck and will install RFID tags on all green waste containers.
  • No new green waste cans will be delivered.
  • No green waste cans will be removed.  All “extra” green waste cans will remain with the customer.
  • Crew will record container serial number, type of container, location, and service address.
  • Once RFID tags are installed and information recorded, green waste process is complete for customer.


I forgot to put out my can.  Now what?  
Split cans:

When it is clear that the residence is occupied and the customer did not place split can curbside for collection and change-out, Delivery crew will deliver one refuse and one recycle container. Split cans will remain on-site temporarily. The city employee accompanying the delivery crew will knock on the door and attempt to contact customer.  An instructional flier will be left on the door instructing customer to stop using split can and to ensure the empty split can is placed curbside the following week along with the new refuse and recycle cans. Retrieval of split can will be attempted the following week.  If unsuccessful, retrieval will happen over time, either as a result of customer calling in the request, or as a result of an operator noting that the container is curbside and should be retrieved.

Green Waste
When a green waste can is not out, the city employee accompanying the tagging crew will knock on the door and attempt to contact customer. If customer is unavailable, a flier will be left on door instructing customer to place green waste cans curbside on a specific date, generally a Friday or Saturday. A list of all missed accounts on the route will be maintained. City crew will be scheduled to work Fridays and Saturdays to pick-up missed green waste accounts. We will have to re-evaluate and adjust our efforts as the project unfolds.   


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