Palo Alto landfill to close July 28

Recycling Center and Hazardous Waste Program to remain open

The Palo Alto Landfill and Composting Facility will close permanently July 28, changing -- in some ways -- how residents and businesses discard their trash.

The landfill closure has been planned since 1965, though it remained open for more years than expected, according to Phil Bobel, the city's environmental compliance manager.

"We are throwing away less and recycling more," Bobel said, referring to how changing habits extended the life of the landfill.

After the landfill closure, excess garbage will be accepted at the Sunnyvale SMaRT Station located at 301 Carl Road. The fee schedule varies on the objects that are thrown away. It can be found at by searching for "SMaRT Station."

But, "nothing changes in terms of household hazardous waste and nothing changes at the Recycling Center," Bobel said.

Household hazardous-waste collection days are still held at the Regional Water Quality Control Plant at 2501 Embarcadero Way in Palo Alto on the first Saturday of each month. Additional information can be found by phone at 650-496-6980 or at by searching for "hazardous waste."

The Recycling Center at 2380 Embarcadero Road in Palo Alto will remain open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week, and accept all manner of recycling that does not fit in residential recycling bins as well as additional recyclable material that isn't picked up. More information on what is accepted can be found at

Residents may still call GreenWaste at 650-493-4894 and request an annual pickup of excess (or oversized) trash.

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Posted by jerryl
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 5, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Although I knew in the back of my mind that the dump was closing "some day soon", it still came as a shock to hear that it will happen this month!!!

I am saddened by this, as I am at many City of Palo Alto actions these days. People treat these things as inevitable merely because they were planned for years ago. But times change.

One of the very fundamental duties of a town or city is the provision to its citizens of a dump. This, historically, came into being to make it easy for everyone to dispose of unwanted items in an out of the way place (instead of dumping junk by the side of the road or in vacant lots, etc.). The thinking then was, if you make it easy enough to do the right thing, everyone will.

I look toward the Baylands and I see many acres of land, some rather swampy and smelly and it just seems amazing that we "have" to close the current landfull and can't possibly find another equally convenient place to expand or start a new one.

Also, the idea of keeping the recycling center open while closing the landfill seems dumb. I know personally, most of my trips to the landfill area were dual purpose. We would drop off everything that could be recycled at the recycling operation and then continue in to the landfull to dispose of the rest.

Now are we expected to head North on a trip to the recycling center and then back on the freeway for a trip down to Sunnyvale?

I take this as yet another abrogation of our leaders' responsibilities over the past 10-20 years.

Like this comment
Posted by virginia
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 5, 2011 at 10:23 pm

I disagree with jerryl - all that apparently "unused" land and marsh is very well used by ma nature to keep our overall environment liveable. My first answer is: reduce, repair, re-use; if none of those is possible, THEN recycle. And buy only things that in fact are recyclable. And especially close the recycling loop by buying only things made from materials that WE have recycled - especially paper - look not just for "recycled" content, but "post-consumer" content.

Granted, some things come into our spaces without our choosing. I just found online a guy who re-uses those bubble envelopes that are not recyclable but some shippers still use so they come to me unbidden - I've emailed him to see if I can mail the extras I have, to him to re-use.

I do agree with Jerryl that "times change". One of the changes in NOW is that there are more of us on the planet, so it's not such a good idea anymore to just dump stuff we don't want in some "out of sight" place - there are fewer such places, and as I noted above some of them ma nature needs for her own work.

Like this comment
Posted by jardins
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 5, 2011 at 11:09 pm

I'm very glad to hear that the recycling center, at least, is staying open!!

The announcement that came with the latest utilities bill is misleading: "After July 1, 2011 plan to bring any items to an alternative site for disposal and recycling" and then it gives the address and business hours of the "SMART" station in Sunnyvale. I took that to mean that the recycling center was closing, like the dump, but clearly I was wrong.

Like this comment
Posted by Roger Overnaut
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 6, 2011 at 9:52 am

"One of the very fundamental duties of a town or city is the provision to its citizens of a dump."

Close, but no cigar. One of the very fundamental duties of a town or city is the provision to its citizens of a proper means of waste disposal, which, because of those liberals in the sixties and seventies, now includes a significant recycling component. Some communities realized that long ago; for example, when's the last time you visited an active municipal dump in Atherton? Menlo Park? Los Altos Hills? Mountain View? Palo Alto has been behind the parade, again.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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