News

Plan to collect food scraps wins support in Palo Alto

City Council committee unanimously endorses strategy to encourage more composting

Banana peels and apple cores may look like garbage to most Palo Alto residents, but city leaders are increasingly viewing such food scraps as a key ingredient in a decade-long drive to reduce the amount of local waste that gets shipped to landfills.

That was the consensus at the Tuesday night meeting of the City Council's Finance Committee, where members voted unanimously to support several aggressive new proposals aimed at encouraging more composting. The committee endorsed a Public Works plan to launch a curbside-collection program that would allow residents to dump their food scraps and food-soiled paper into their green bins, either co-mingled with yard trimmings or collected in bags.

Each resident would be provided with a kitchen pail that would be used to temporarily keep food scraps indoors before they are emptied into the green bin as part of the program, which would debut in July.

The four-member committee also backed a staff proposal to create a new ordinance requiring commercial customers to compost. As of last October, only 477 of the city's 1,615 commercial customers used the city's composting service, which is currently optional. Furthermore, only 62 percent of local food-service establishments compost, according to a report from Public Works.

Ron Arp, who managers the city's zero-waste program, estimated that the residential program would divert about 5,000 metric tons of compostable material from landfills, while the new requirements for commercial customers would divert another 7,000.

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"We view as the largest for diversion is to go after the city's commercial and residential compostable materials," Arp said at the meeting. "This is what the plan will be centered around."

The idea of picking up food scraps at the curb is far from new. Various cities in the region, including Alameda and San Mateo, have been offering the service for years, according to staff. And local residents have long been calling for such a program, Arp said.

"There is a high amount of public interest in this program," he said. "Everywhere we go people are asking, 'Why aren't we doing this?'... We do believe that this is the time to do it."

All four committee members concurred. Chair Greg Schmid and council members Eric Filseth, Liz Kniss and Greg Scharff voted to recommend the approval of both staff proposals. The full council will review the proposals later this spring.

"I really appreciate the fact that we're moving into this direction; that we're moving toward a composting plan," Scharff said.

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His main concerns revolved around funding. The new composting program will require the city to strike a new deal with its hauler, GreenWaste of Palo Alto. Staff estimates that the new service would cost about $1.3 million annually, though the city will save about $576,000 by shipping less waste to landfills, according to staff.

This will mean higher rates. Staff has proposed raising refuse rates by 9 percent in July and by 8 percent in each of the following two years. This means a residential customer who currently uses a mini-can and pays $22.29 a month would see the rate rise to $28.49 by July 1, 2017. A customer who uses the standard 32-gallon can would see the rate go up from $40.14 to $51.29 in 2018, with the increase spread out over three years.

Scharff proposed that staff evaluate other ways to manage the rate increase, including possibly spreading it out over more years. The different scenarios will be presented at a later date.

Council members also encouraged staff to continue exploring partnering opportunities with the private sector.

Schmid urged staff to explore a "regional solution that works well for everybody," possibly utilizing the city's existing investment in the SMaRT Station in Sunnyvale.

Phil Bobel, assistant director of Public Works, said staff is talking to neighboring cities but noted that potential collaborations are complicated by the fact that each city has its own contracts and schedules.

The new push for more composting aims to bring Palo Alto's diversion rate from 78 percent to about 82 percent, higher than most cities in the area, according to a staff report.

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Gennady Sheyner
 
Gennady Sheyner covers the City Hall beat in Palo Alto as well as regional politics, with a special focus on housing and transportation. Before joining the Palo Alto Weekly/PaloAltoOnline.com in 2008, he covered breaking news and local politics for the Waterbury Republican-American, a daily newspaper in Connecticut. Read more >>

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Plan to collect food scraps wins support in Palo Alto

City Council committee unanimously endorses strategy to encourage more composting

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Mar 3, 2015, 11:26 pm

Banana peels and apple cores may look like garbage to most Palo Alto residents, but city leaders are increasingly viewing such food scraps as a key ingredient in a decade-long drive to reduce the amount of local waste that gets shipped to landfills.

That was the consensus at the Tuesday night meeting of the City Council's Finance Committee, where members voted unanimously to support several aggressive new proposals aimed at encouraging more composting. The committee endorsed a Public Works plan to launch a curbside-collection program that would allow residents to dump their food scraps and food-soiled paper into their green bins, either co-mingled with yard trimmings or collected in bags.

Each resident would be provided with a kitchen pail that would be used to temporarily keep food scraps indoors before they are emptied into the green bin as part of the program, which would debut in July.

The four-member committee also backed a staff proposal to create a new ordinance requiring commercial customers to compost. As of last October, only 477 of the city's 1,615 commercial customers used the city's composting service, which is currently optional. Furthermore, only 62 percent of local food-service establishments compost, according to a report from Public Works.

Ron Arp, who managers the city's zero-waste program, estimated that the residential program would divert about 5,000 metric tons of compostable material from landfills, while the new requirements for commercial customers would divert another 7,000.

"We view as the largest for diversion is to go after the city's commercial and residential compostable materials," Arp said at the meeting. "This is what the plan will be centered around."

The idea of picking up food scraps at the curb is far from new. Various cities in the region, including Alameda and San Mateo, have been offering the service for years, according to staff. And local residents have long been calling for such a program, Arp said.

"There is a high amount of public interest in this program," he said. "Everywhere we go people are asking, 'Why aren't we doing this?'... We do believe that this is the time to do it."

All four committee members concurred. Chair Greg Schmid and council members Eric Filseth, Liz Kniss and Greg Scharff voted to recommend the approval of both staff proposals. The full council will review the proposals later this spring.

"I really appreciate the fact that we're moving into this direction; that we're moving toward a composting plan," Scharff said.

His main concerns revolved around funding. The new composting program will require the city to strike a new deal with its hauler, GreenWaste of Palo Alto. Staff estimates that the new service would cost about $1.3 million annually, though the city will save about $576,000 by shipping less waste to landfills, according to staff.

This will mean higher rates. Staff has proposed raising refuse rates by 9 percent in July and by 8 percent in each of the following two years. This means a residential customer who currently uses a mini-can and pays $22.29 a month would see the rate rise to $28.49 by July 1, 2017. A customer who uses the standard 32-gallon can would see the rate go up from $40.14 to $51.29 in 2018, with the increase spread out over three years.

Scharff proposed that staff evaluate other ways to manage the rate increase, including possibly spreading it out over more years. The different scenarios will be presented at a later date.

Council members also encouraged staff to continue exploring partnering opportunities with the private sector.

Schmid urged staff to explore a "regional solution that works well for everybody," possibly utilizing the city's existing investment in the SMaRT Station in Sunnyvale.

Phil Bobel, assistant director of Public Works, said staff is talking to neighboring cities but noted that potential collaborations are complicated by the fact that each city has its own contracts and schedules.

The new push for more composting aims to bring Palo Alto's diversion rate from 78 percent to about 82 percent, higher than most cities in the area, according to a staff report.

Comments

member
Crescent Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 7:04 am
member, Crescent Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 7:04 am

Why isn't council considering what residents really clamor for; charging a fee/emptying cans only when the cans are full? It's as simple as slapping a bar code on each can and the haulers using a hand or truck mounted bar code reader to scan the can when it is placed curbside.

Scan the can! Now!


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2015 at 7:30 am
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2015 at 7:30 am

Was there any discussion about vermin? That worries me as we have a large raccoon and skunk problem? I also agree to scan the can to reduce our costs.


Midtown
Midtown
on Mar 4, 2015 at 9:32 am
Midtown, Midtown
on Mar 4, 2015 at 9:32 am

We need an opt out or mini mini cans at a mini mini mini price, one size does not fit all!


MakesNoSense
Midtown
on Mar 4, 2015 at 9:39 am
MakesNoSense, Midtown
on Mar 4, 2015 at 9:39 am

How does this even make any sense? First they want to increase rates so we can be inconvenienced further! Next, the idea of having a smelly bin filled with decomposing food scraps just seems like a vermin magnet - definitely a bad idea,. And back again to the rates - why do they need to keep going up constantly?


Dan
Midtown
on Mar 4, 2015 at 9:50 am
Dan, Midtown
on Mar 4, 2015 at 9:50 am

wow ... they seriously don't see a show-stopper problem with a 25% increase in rates to barely move the needle on diversion rate? I can't wait to see the increase in refuse rates justified to go from 82% to 85%. We already compost most of our food scraps in our backyard for gardening.


Help us plan
Greenmeadow
on Mar 4, 2015 at 9:53 am
Help us plan, Greenmeadow
on Mar 4, 2015 at 9:53 am

It would be helpful if the city would post actual pictures and dimensions of the various containers available for composting, garbage and recycling. (Volume of containers is provided but not Dimensions.) Multi use residents have limited space for largest containers. We need a size somewhere in between the huge metal containers and the large plastic bins, but honestly, from the city's site, it is not clear what the dimensions of the current options are.


Gertrude
Menlo Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 10:18 am
Gertrude, Menlo Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 10:18 am

It's about time we started saving food scraps instead of throwing everything in the garbage. Europeans have been doing this for decades.

I remember visiting a friend in Germany back in the 80's and was surprised that just about everything was recycled. She had a pail for food scraps that was collected and fed to the pigs.

Another thing that the Germans do to cut down on waste is bring their own non-disposible plates, silverware, and cups to picnics/barbecues. People then take their dishes, etc. home to wash. No garbage generated or left behind.

With our increasing population we need to figure out ways to create less waste, and reusing food scraps will definitely help.


Fruits and Nuts
Old Palo Alto
on Mar 4, 2015 at 10:37 am
Fruits and Nuts, Old Palo Alto
on Mar 4, 2015 at 10:37 am
Hermia
Triple El
on Mar 4, 2015 at 10:37 am
Hermia, Triple El
on Mar 4, 2015 at 10:37 am

For those who are concerned about vermin, I'd like to point out that if you don't include fats or meat scraps, vegetable compost attracts no vermin. Well, literally it does, in the sense that you grow worms in it, but we've been composting in bins beside the house for years and years, and the raccoons, rats (you know they are endemic!) squirrels, and opossums just ignore it. They walk right past. They'll try to eat their way into the closed garbage bin if it has something smelly, but they've NEVER touched the compost, It has occasional minor fruit fly eruptions, and spiders in the corners of the bins, and worms in the compost, but all of those are because we are actively composting on site. Fruit and vegetable craps which are removed weekly should generate no smell or trouble.

My garden is fabulous because I have a great source of compost.


Green Palo Altan
South of Midtown
on Mar 4, 2015 at 10:43 am
Green Palo Altan, South of Midtown
on Mar 4, 2015 at 10:43 am

Thank you , and welcome to the compost idea in Palo Alto! For those who complain, we cant have it all. The bottom line is that we need to be more ecologically responsible, even if it inconveniences us some. But many cities collect compost, many people collect compost, and they have been able to solve the possible complications associated with the practice.
Welcome the compost bins!


Been doing this a while
Crescent Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 10:54 am
Been doing this a while, Crescent Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 10:54 am

I've been putting vegetable peels and veggie scraps into the green container for years. It's all compostable. I don't put meat scraps or wrappers in there though. And the vermin have ignored my garden container all along the way. (They also ignore the garbage container that occasionally has meat scraps.)

I think this is a terrific idea for cutting down on solid waste. I'm not real thrilled about the increase in garbage rates, but getting rid of that stuff isn't free. We have to pay for either land to store it, or transportation to truck it elsewhere, and none of those costs are going down.

It's long past time we all worked together to reduce our footprint, both in terms of energy usage and garbage creation.


former composter
Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 4, 2015 at 10:58 am
former composter, Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 4, 2015 at 10:58 am

Hermia, We avidly composted for many years, strictly vegetables and yard waste despite the fact that vermin ate holes in our plastic, PA-issued composting bin. We had even put hardware cloth underneath as a precaution against burrowing up from underground. A new design would need to be adopted before we would do it again. We didn't want to be the feeding ground for rats, raccoons, skunks that live in the neighborhood.


Kay
College Terrace
on Mar 4, 2015 at 11:11 am
Kay, College Terrace
on Mar 4, 2015 at 11:11 am

Since we have already been paying for the removal of all of these items in our small garbage can, why can't we simply pay one time for the new small indoor bin? We are only transferring the peelings and corn husks to the green bin. The sum will remain the same and the green bin will scarcely be changed by a few peelings and cores.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2015 at 12:26 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2015 at 12:26 pm

Isn't a landfill without organic/food waste prone to take much longer to decay/oxidize/return to a condition approaching a natural state? The food waste gets organic and inorganic decay going right away through its micro-organisms and moisture.

Perhaps the virtues of the collection plan are a feel-good illusion.


Barron Park Composter
Barron Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 12:32 pm
Barron Park Composter, Barron Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 12:32 pm

I have been composting fruit/veg scraps and eggshells (no meats/dairy/bread) for years and have had no problem with critters chewing holes in my city-provided plastic compost bins. I use the compost in my garden to amend our clay soil and mulch to mitigate the extremely dry conditions. Works great! Love the idea of putting compost curbside...or give to your composting neighbors. Better yet--try composting yourselves.


Sheri
Midtown
on Mar 4, 2015 at 1:00 pm
Sheri, Midtown
on Mar 4, 2015 at 1:00 pm

"The new composting program will require the city to strike a new deal with its hauler, GreenWaste of Palo Alto. Staff estimates that the new service would cost about $1.3 million annually."

Why, exactly? Do they expect more bins to be put out? Don't we pay for 2 a week already? How much extra room will a bag of food waste take up? Or is the increased expense from the additional commercial composting?


Emily Renzel
Crescent Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 1:19 pm
Emily Renzel , Crescent Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 1:19 pm

Five years ago in 2010 City Staff, including the City Attorney, advised Council that we are not in compliance with State Proposition 218 which only allows fees to be levied for services rendered. The Commercial Sector has been subsidizing the Residential Sector in the Refuse Fund from then until now, in violation of 218. City Council did not bite the bullet then to bring the rates into compliance and now it looks like they may want to kick the can down the road again. Staff did a very good job of pointing out that the rate increases over the three years would be $6 to $9 for over 60% of residences -- a latte or two. Affluent Palo Alto should be grateful that we have an efficient system for hauling away all the trash we generate - at a cost in most cases of less than $1/day.


Wondering?
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2015 at 1:29 pm
Wondering?, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2015 at 1:29 pm

> Affluent Palo Alto should be grateful that we have an efficient system
> for hauling away all the trash we generate

Wonder how Palo Alto's trash removal is actually all that different than any other municipality's?

And what makes it so efficient, where presumably other trash removal efforts aren't?


let's promote "SCAN THE CAN"
Greenmeadow
on Mar 4, 2015 at 1:30 pm
let's promote "SCAN THE CAN", Greenmeadow
on Mar 4, 2015 at 1:30 pm

OK, we're all (mostly) behind the idea of composting in either our backyards or putting it out in our compostable bin for the city to collect, but why not get everybody's approval by charging for bin usage not just the unfair weekly rate. One charge does not fit all! "Member" in Crescent Park even provided the slogan; SCAN THE CAN! Right now it's more like SCAM the utilities user as our rates continue to rise even as we try to comply by doing the right thing for our planet.


Mr.Recycle
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 4, 2015 at 1:40 pm
Mr.Recycle, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 4, 2015 at 1:40 pm

So to be clear, I'm going to get charged 25% more for garbage pickup, but I still can throw all my trash in the trash.


jerry99
Barron Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 2:01 pm
jerry99, Barron Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 2:01 pm

How does a smelly fly covered bucket in someone's house that will be filled once/month cost 28% more money. Whose relative on the City Council is going to get this contract.

So essentially I will have to pay 28% more for some boondoggle and put all food scraps in the garbage disposal.


jerry99
Barron Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 2:05 pm
jerry99, Barron Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 2:05 pm
gz
Crescent Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 2:12 pm
gz, Crescent Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 2:12 pm
CHW
Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Mar 4, 2015 at 2:52 pm
CHW, Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Mar 4, 2015 at 2:52 pm

Yes to composting, no to higher fees. No good reason given.


Sarah G.
St. Claire Gardens
on Mar 4, 2015 at 3:10 pm
Sarah G., St. Claire Gardens
on Mar 4, 2015 at 3:10 pm

Reduce, re-use, recycle. Compost. Check, check, check and check. So what will we be asked to do with dog crap, cat pan gravel, feminine products, diapers and adult incontinence items?


Bob
Community Center
on Mar 4, 2015 at 5:38 pm
Bob, Community Center
on Mar 4, 2015 at 5:38 pm

Can't wait to move outta here....to someplace where current city managers of our lives don't live ---or farther away. Probably they don't have to go through all this meddling nonsense. Seniors are hurting already with the constant raising of utility costs as well as young'uns with high mortgage and tax bills. City of PA. STOP!!!


Patti
Palo Verde
on Mar 4, 2015 at 6:05 pm
Patti, Palo Verde
on Mar 4, 2015 at 6:05 pm

Yay! We can't wait to be able to compost our food scraps curbside.


Mr.Recycle
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 4, 2015 at 6:11 pm
Mr.Recycle, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 4, 2015 at 6:11 pm

@Wondering? - Efficient should mean: one can, picked up by one truck, one time a week. And in most parts of the country that would be $10-$20 a month. So Palo Alto is only efficient using the most orwellian definition.


Elizabeth
Esther Clark Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 8:42 pm
Elizabeth, Esther Clark Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 8:42 pm

Ever since I stopped making a compost heap where I put my food scraps, leaves, etc., I have not had vermin or flies in my back yard, with rare exceptions when the raccoons try to over my black bucket. A brick on top of the bucket will discourage the raccoon and also, turn the bucket away from the street. During the week, I use two recycle bags from local stores where I put my garbage into the bottom drawer in my freezer. On the evening before the GreenWaste people come, I put the frozen garbage in the black bucket and take it to curbside. There is never a smell of food on my property because it's frozen in my freezer all week. Daily food scraps I keep under my sink until it's full enough to put in the freezer. When I close the plastic bag with a "twisty" under my sink, there is no smell. I put my protein garbage right away in the freezer and never leave it under the sink. Maybe these suggestions might help you. I hope so. The black bucket, by the way, almost never needs to be washed. It's clean. I do miss my compost, however.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2015 at 9:10 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2015 at 9:10 pm
Garbage
another community
on Mar 4, 2015 at 9:48 pm
Garbage, another community
on Mar 4, 2015 at 9:48 pm

Who or what, would buy a landfill, that they knew would be closing in a few years? A corporation that knew that the laws regarding recycling could be manipulated in in their favor. Green-waste that's who!

Z-web a partner of Green-waste, was counting on the waste stream from Palo Alto and other participating nearby communities to make their business model work.Green-waste did not want competition.This was one of the reasons why their was so much opposition for the proposed anaerobic digest compost facility next to the P.A. waste water treatment plant.


Watch garbage rates go through the roof!





Garbage
another community
on Mar 4, 2015 at 9:58 pm
Garbage, another community
on Mar 4, 2015 at 9:58 pm

Correction; ZWEDC not Z-web. Sorry, Phil Bobel, the assistant director of the Public Works Department, could not get it right at last nights finance committee, neither could I.


Cedric de La Beaujardiere
Registered user
Barron Park
on Mar 5, 2015 at 2:55 am
Cedric de La Beaujardiere, Barron Park
Registered user
on Mar 5, 2015 at 2:55 am

I fully support these efforts.

A few replies to above comments:

1) Food in landfills, buried in trash and deprived of oxygen, breaks down anaerobicly, emitting methane, a potent green house gas (GHG). Landfill operators install methane collectors and either generate electricity or simply flare it to convert it to less potent CO2. But by the time that equipment can be installed, 80% of the methane has been released, which is one important reason to stop sending food to landfills.
2) Collection and processing costs are higher because there is more complex processing than simply burrying trash: sorting, shredding, forming compost rows, mixing the rows, keeping them aerated and moist, screening out debris, recomposting bits that need another go round, curing compost, bagging and selling to consumers and farms, etc. There is a different but also complex process if the food is digested instead.
3) Regarding "scan the can", collection trucks still need to drive their routes even if you don't put out your bins, just in case you did put them out, so there's not much savings. Further such schemes risk incentivising illegal dumping to avoid any fees. So, its complicated.
4) Food compost releases CO2 instead of methane to the atmosphere, a huge improvement vis a vis GHG reductions, even with the increased processing.
5) Food scraps sent to Anaerobic Digestion (AD) produces and captured methane used either to generate electricity, natural gas, or compressed natural gas (CNG, a transportation fuel). The economic and GHG benefits are greater than composting.
6) Avoid putting food scraps in you sink's garbage disposal: it causes problems at the sewage treatment plant (Phil Bobel could elaborate I don't recall details, I think it's with the pre-screening of solids), and the solids are either landfilled or incinerated, both at a high GHG impact.
7) Not at first but possibly in the future, you could potentially be fined for repeated non-compliance by putting your food scraps in your garbage instead of the compost bin. (Partly, I believe, because the city itself may be fined for non-compliance with state and regional waste reduction targets).


just don't get it!!!
Southgate
on Mar 5, 2015 at 8:56 am
just don't get it!!! , Southgate
on Mar 5, 2015 at 8:56 am

All those items that can be composted go down my garbage disposal so why would I be charged this fee??? As a senior citizen who has, at most, one small bag of garbage a week It seems quite unfair and unrealistic....and I recycle almost everything else. Also, what about a party of 1 or 2 verses a family of 4 or 5 or more?


Karol
Ventura
on Mar 5, 2015 at 9:59 am
Karol, Ventura
on Mar 5, 2015 at 9:59 am

1. Where is this composted material going to end up? If meats ,many include antibiotics & other additives, are included in the compost how safe can it be when used as soil??? Composting should be vegetable matter only.
2. The city makes no consideration that there may be people in PA that find the constant increases in utility bills
a hardship. Many are on fixed incomes or work in jobs that do not pay as well as the city assumes.
3. What about the people who do a good job of conserving and single people who throw away a tiny amount
next to households who make little effort to conserve. There is no equity in the fees


Mr.Recycle
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 5, 2015 at 10:56 am
Mr.Recycle, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 5, 2015 at 10:56 am

@Cedric de La Beaujardiere - if you are worried about putting food through the garbage disposal, you can get a full 1 hp model, like the Waste King Legend (aka "Bonecrusher). It is going to be the best alternative to composting.


CrescentParkAnon.
Crescent Park
on Mar 5, 2015 at 11:51 am
CrescentParkAnon., Crescent Park
on Mar 5, 2015 at 11:51 am

The City seems to think only about the excuses it needs
to set up or increase those streams of income to itself
while not thinking enough about how to provide value
and lower costs to its residents.

Forget scan the can, it's a bad idea.

I put my cans out with many other cans in a common
location and inevitably two things occur.

Cans get mixed up and confused - even if they are labelled.
Sometimes I don't get my right can back for weeks.

Also people walking their dogs come by and drop their dog
waste into other people's cans - that they do not pay for -
and stink it up disgustingly so you either let that sit for a long
time until you need to have it emptied or you put it out the
next week hoping some rotten dog owner will not drop
another on in your can. Dog owners are inconsiderate.

The other thing is that what will happen is that people will
overfill their cans smashing as much garbage as possible
into it before the set it out which will make life harder for
everyone. The garbage men often do not look to see if
something has stuck to be inside of the can and so will
return you a can with a stuff jammed into the bottom they
didn't get out. And it should not be their responsibility to
clean every can - that would take even more money and time.

Maybe do the recycle by volume and the garbage by
weight, but that adds too much complexity that people
will still complain about and needs scales and calibration.
I am all for recycling, but not for a feel-good boondoggle
just to give even more money to the City.

The other thing to consider is that every household is not
the same. If you have one person or a couple frugally living
in a house that has just a little bit of garbage paying the
same as a huge mcmansion with lots of people and cars
as opposed to some households that are very wasteful and
generate a lot of trash - how is that fair.

It is to the point where the City should look for ways to be
fair to the residents and not subsidize wasteful behavior or
lifestyles - if incentives were in line maybe a lowering of the
garbage volume would happen automatically.


CrescentParkAnon.
Crescent Park
on Mar 5, 2015 at 11:56 am
CrescentParkAnon., Crescent Park
on Mar 5, 2015 at 11:56 am

And NO, it says specifically that the yard waste containers are not for
food scraps or dog poop or anything else people want to think in their
own minds are "yard waste".

it is a miracle that any of these systems work considering how stupid
so many people are, or how they think they know better or can fool
everyone else. Most of these folks are not being "green" they are
being cheap trying to put the least amount of trash out there so they
do not need to pay for what they are actually using ... cheating everyone
else in the city and those who do the right thing and throwing sand in
the machinery of the waste disposal system.


Mr.Recycle
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 5, 2015 at 2:34 pm
Mr.Recycle, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 5, 2015 at 2:34 pm

@CrescentParkAnon - If I cut a branch of my orange tree, and it has an orange on it, it is yard waste. If I take the same orange put in my refrigerator, then throw it away is now compost? People aren't stupid, the system is stupid. If people need to cheat the system because it is so expensive, then we would be better served to focus on lowering costs, not increase them.


Compost, don't dispose
Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 6, 2015 at 12:34 pm
Compost, don't dispose, Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 6, 2015 at 12:34 pm

When you put solid food in the disposal, it ends up in a landfill anyway as solid waste has to be dealt with in the sewer system somehow.

It would be better to have vegetable food scraps go in the garden/compost cans.


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 6, 2015 at 12:47 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 6, 2015 at 12:47 pm

Another fee increase to compensate for the declining sales tax revenues in PA?


Anonymous
Greenmeadow
on Mar 6, 2015 at 1:33 pm
Anonymous, Greenmeadow
on Mar 6, 2015 at 1:33 pm

For those concerned about odors and vermin: how will putting compostable food scraps in the green bin produce more odors or attract more rodents than the current system of putting them in the black bin?


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2015 at 2:02 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2015 at 2:02 pm

From my experience.

We use about two indoor trash cans wrapped in plastic each week in our black can. Our blue recycling can is usually very full each week, although we could probably do a better job squashing things like cereal boxes. Our green can goes out about once a month, only when we have been trimming bushes or trees, or similar.

We throw out very little food scraps as we are diligent about not over buying food and letting it spoil, so if you call potato peelings, orange peel and corn husks food scraps, then we do have plenty of that. We always wrap any meat bones in plastic bags before putting them in the trash including turkey carcasses or ham bones after we have made soup.

We have fruit trees and we get plenty of vermin taking any windfalls if we forget to pick them up and throw them in our green can. We have had raccoons successfully tipping our cans, gnawing through the lids and we have teeth and scratch marks on all our cans. We have had to get a replacement trash can from the utilities because of animal damage before we started wrapping all bones and vegetable matter such as banana peels, corn husks, potato peels, etc.

I have no problem with separating food items and wrapping them as we already do so but it will cause us to put out three cans most week instead of the two.

If this is progress, then so be it. But, the tax we are paying to do this is not justifiable.

We rarely use what we are already paying for. Making us put out an extra can and charging us more is not customer friendly. A service whereby we can reduce our costs makes much more sense.

Scan the Can.

A flat charge for all households is not fair for those of us who already reduce, reuse and recycle.


CrescentParkAnon.
Crescent Park
on Mar 7, 2015 at 6:37 am
CrescentParkAnon., Crescent Park
on Mar 7, 2015 at 6:37 am

Mr Recycle, no one was talking about oranges, they were talking about food scraps in general, table scraps.


CrescentParkAnon.
Crescent Park
on Mar 7, 2015 at 6:42 am
CrescentParkAnon., Crescent Park
on Mar 7, 2015 at 6:42 am

>> Compost, don't dispose
>> It would be better to have vegetable food scraps go in the garden/compost cans.

Maybe, but the problem is getting people to do the right thing the right way. Already
for many people they either do not care what the city asks them to do or are too
stupid to follow simple directions. You cannot rely on people being civic minded,
they just do what they want because they do not care and think they know better.

Something really negative is happening to the average of Americans when they
cannot even follow simple rules of recycling.


Garbage
East Palo Alto
on Mar 7, 2015 at 10:05 pm
Garbage, East Palo Alto
on Mar 7, 2015 at 10:05 pm

@ CrescentParkAnon.

Your right! We don't care! Remember the colored milk crates? Yellow, green,and blue,to separate news print,glass, and tin? What happened to that program anyway? It was hijacked by Green-Waste and the politicians that generate huge profits from these programs, all in the guise of saving the earth. This is so Green-waste can control the waste stream so they can sell it for huge profits, offshore. They got us coming and going. Furthermore, we are just exporting our pollution . Just another corporate scam. Wake Up!


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