As Palo Alto's waste goes abroad, city struggles to track its impact | May 28, 2021 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - May 28, 2021

As Palo Alto's waste goes abroad, city struggles to track its impact

New deal reached with GreenWaste, despite hauler's inability to track secondary markets

by Gennady Sheyner

Eager to divert local trash away from landfills, the Palo Alto City Council approved on Monday night a new agreement with the city's trash hauler that city leaders believe will save money and support their environmental goals.

The agreement also comes with an ethical question mark that is making some local environmentalists uneasy. While the city may have a clear idea about where the garbage is being diverted from, it has far less insight into where it's going. The trash hauler, GreenWaste Recovery, has been unable to clearly answer that question, despite explicit direction from the council in January 2019 that required the company to track the traveling trash and avoid, to the extent possible, its shipment to nations with less-than-stringent environmental standards.

Despite some reservations, the council voted 6-1, with council member Greg Tanaka dissenting, to approve a new eight-and-a-half year, $40.9 million contract with GreenWaste for hauling and disposing of solid waste. The contract also will officially spell the end of the city's longstanding partnership with Sunnyvale and Mountain View at SMaRT Station, a recovery station in Sunnyvale where trash from the three cities has been sorted for the past 30 years.

With the new contracts, the council's participation in the Sunnyvale facility will conclude at the end of this year. Local trash will then be hauled to GreenWaste's material recovery facility in San Jose.

Where it goes after that is less clear. After China moved in January 2018 to effectively close off its market to foreign waste, cities across the U.S. and elsewhere have scrambled to find other options, in many cases shifting to Vietnam and Thailand. Concerned about the environmental damage that local waste might be causing in these nations, the council approved a new contract with GreenWaste in January 2019 and explicitly required the firm to track "environmental and social implications" associated with the full life cycle of Palo Alto's recyclable materials.

GreenWaste has struggled to fulfill this requirement. While its 2020 report lists some of the companies that purchase aluminum cans, plastics, mixed paper and other materials discarded by Palo Alto and other area jurisdictions, most of these partners fail to disclose the secondary market for local trash.

One thing is clear: Much of it goes abroad. One of the companies that receives local plastic and mixed paper, Berg Mill Supply Co., is listed as dealing exclusively with international partners. Another company, CellMark, which also buys mixed paper and plastics from GreenWaste, reported having international and domestic partners, though it did not list the nations where it ships the waste. OGO Fibers, which receives mixed paper, reportedly sends it to Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan.

According to a memo from Public Works staff, GreenWaste has shipped about 40% of the materials it has received from the various jurisdictions to domestic partners, which includes all aluminum cans, foil, tin and glass, as well as 90% of polyethylene terephthalate plastic — the type used in single-use plastic water bottles. The remaining 60% went abroad, a shipment that includes almost all rigid plastic, film plastics, mixed paper and cardboard. (Palo Alto makes up about 17% of the firm's recyclable materials.)

Paula Borges, the city's solid waste manager, suggested Monday that GreenWaste is the best choice for meeting the city's climate action goals, given its commitment to diverting at least 50% of local waste and up to 70%. The SMaRT Station, by contrast, diverts about 30%, though it has a goal of getting to 45%.

While council members agreed that they'd like to see more local trash diverted to domestic processors, which are subject to a host of environmental regulations, Borges noted that the domestic market for mixed paper and some forms of plastics remains very limited. And once the trash goes abroad, the city has little ability to track its environmental impact.

"We're making progress — we're going in the right direction — but we don't have enough information. And short of conducting the field trip overseas ... there is unfortunately limited data available," Borges said.

For Bob Wenzlau, an environmental advocate who helped spearhead the city's recycling program, that's not good enough. Wenzlau argued in a letter to the council that the company has not "addressed the question raised for several years by staff and community about the disposition of waste materials shipped overseas."

"Palo Alto celebrates the recovery of these materials in our sustainability and compliance documents, but it is very likely these materials cause social and environmental impact," he wrote.

Wenzlau also urged the council Monday not to approve the shipment of local waste overseas unless it can confirm that it is subject to environmental management consistent with U.S. standards.

"When the wastes are managed in the U.S., we know their fate, good or bad," Wenzlau said. "We do not know the fate of these materials when they are exported."

Resident Matt Buchwitz concurred and said that shipping waste to countries without environmental safeguards is an "abdication of our environmental responsibilities."

"The environmental effects are far worse from a global perspective while degrading the lives of the recipients of our waste," Buchwitz wrote to the council.

Several council members, including Lydia Kou, Eric Filseth and Vice Mayor Pat Burt, shared his misgivings and supported including a clause in the GreenWaste agreement authorizing city staff to quickly divert trash to domestic destinations if opportunities to do so present themselves.

The city, Filseth noted, cannot keep track of what happens with its plastic and mixed paper in countries "on the other side of the world."

Even with these reservations, the council generally agreed that GreenWaste, as the sole company to participate in the city's bidding process, is the best available option. Staff estimated that when compared to the status quo — the continuation of its agreement with SMaRT Station — the GreenWaste deal would save about $4.6 million over the life of the contract.

"While it's unfortunate that we didn't get more bids, this contract saves us money, recycles more materials than the current agreement, and I like that they're using newer technology and investing in their business," Mayor Tom DuBois said, referring to GreenWaste's investment in technology such as optical sorters, magnetic separators and artificial intelligence robots.

Tanaka was less confident and pointed to the fact that the city's trash rates remain higher than in neighboring jurisdictions.

"To get good rates, we have to negotiate," Tanaka said. "There has to be another bidding party. ... I think we just need to shop around, especially for these large contracts."

Email Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner at [email protected]

Comments

Posted by Bob Wenzlau
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 25, 2021 at 6:56 am

Bob Wenzlau is a registered user.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

With last night’s revelation that 60% of our “recycling” being exported overseas, recycling is not a benign act. That finding affected me, and until the recycling system is repaired, I will focus on reducing placing papers and plastics in the blue bin.

Like water conservation, a hundred small acts will impact what might go in the blue bin. Work to reduce. Can you consolidate your Amazon shipments to the once-a-week model? Can you skip the plastic bag for the produce?

Our individual impact is limited. As a city, Palo Alto missed an opportunity last night to make a strong statement. Council felt the issue, perhaps Council Member Kuo expressed how frustrating it can be to set policy when you basically have a bad set of cards.

Let’s be hopeful we can use last night’s discussion to move issue forward to return comfort that materials that go in our blue bin don’t do harm in far away places.


Posted by Justin Lowry
a resident of Menlo Park
on May 25, 2021 at 8:21 am

Justin Lowry is a registered user.

Simply sending refuse and waste products to 3rd world countries will not solve this problem as these off-site recyclers may eventually dispose of what they cannot use back into the environment (e.g. oceans and rivers).

The only solution might be to jettison garbage into outer space and allow it to decompose via radiation and intense temperatures from the sun.

Venus and Mercury could both be used as target zones since they are far too hot to sustain human life and serve no planetary purpose other than for astrologists.

Perhaps Elon Musk could come up with a system to enable this alternative.


Posted by tmp
a resident of Downtown North
on May 25, 2021 at 11:07 am

tmp is a registered user.

This is a perfect example of why individuals have little ability to control the destructive influence of plastic use on the world's environment. Until government BANS completely the use of non-essential plastic individual consumers will use it. There is no way to avoid buying it since it is cheap and products come wrapped in it and you can't avoid it.

Just like in the 1970s when the governement passed clean water laws, clean air laws, formed the environmental protection agency (EPA) to stop bad behavior from large corporations, we need a government now that will ban this ubiquitous plastic tidal wave and remove it from use.

Companies could find alternatives, but just like they used to dump their trash in the water until they were forced to stop, they will continue with the cheap plastic until they are forced to stop. Where is the good government that we all hope to see our country rise to?


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Downtown North

on May 25, 2021 at 11:34 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Downtown North

on May 25, 2021 at 11:36 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Posted by Phillip Denehy
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 25, 2021 at 11:37 am

Phillip Denehy is a registered user.

Outer space sounds good.

The last time I checked, the galaxy is somewhat infinite so there is plenty of room for floating debris.

Besides, what do we care about what goes on in regions humans will most likely never venture to or inhabit?

Just load up some rockets and get rid of the stuff.

It might be expensive but we waste far more money on other trivial things.


Posted by Weifeng Pan
a resident of Midtown
on May 25, 2021 at 11:42 am

Weifeng Pan is a registered user.

Why isn't it obvious to anyone that the US cannot deal with its own waste?
Recycle is for the most part a pipe dream.


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 25, 2021 at 1:43 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

My childhood home of 4 people had one small can which contained everything we considered trash and was collected weekly. Reusing was commonplace. Most stuff we bought lasted for a long time and came with very little excess packaging, if any. Today even a sixpack of underwear comes with about 3 separate pieces of packaging for no particular reason.


Posted by Sally-Ann Rudd
a resident of Downtown North
on May 25, 2021 at 2:31 pm

Sally-Ann Rudd is a registered user.

Sunnyvale Smart station was a very convenient place to take absolutely anything that was too broken or useless to go anywhere else. Also the recycling options were extensive.


Posted by Staying Young Through Kids
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 26, 2021 at 3:00 pm

Staying Young Through Kids is a registered user.

Wow....we're a long way from the friendly service of Pasco and the ease of taking things to the Byxbee site. Although, I'm NOT suggesting we reopen a full scale dump in Palo Alto!

My question is: Will Palo Altans now be forced to drive to San Jose to dispose of large items on their own? Especially things like mattresses which have been accepted for free at SMaRT (perhaps by code?).

The GreenWaste facility is a LOT farther away than the SMaRT station. And even that was a lot farther away than the old Byxbee site.

Having a small local recycling/bulky items transfer center for things like recyclables, electronics, excess yard waste, appliances, furniture, and mattresses would be a great service to the community. Two non-negotiable clean up days a year doesn't cut it.


Posted by Mildred Cannon
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 26, 2021 at 3:16 pm

Mildred Cannon is a registered user.

"Having a small local recycling/bulky items transfer center for things like recyclables, electronics, excess yard waste, appliances, furniture, and mattresses would be a great service to the community."

The first logical step would be to begin making all of above items bio-degradable. Then it is no longer becomes an issue.

We need to go back to using more natural organic materials including cotton, wool, hemp and recyclable wood and paper products.

Even consumer electronics and automobiles need to be manufactured using organic, bio-degradable materials.


Posted by AlexDeLarge
a resident of Midtown
on May 26, 2021 at 9:02 pm

AlexDeLarge is a registered user.


We're doomed...


Posted by Virginia Smedberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 27, 2021 at 3:55 am

Virginia Smedberg is a registered user.

Several others have brought up points I also thought of:
The distance to San Jose vs Sunnyvale is one.
The non-negotiable "clean-up day" dates is another - our clean up day just passed and we had nothing; THEN our old hammock broke. So now it has to sit around until our October day.
But my BASIC objection to this whole idea is the definition of "recycle". Truly you are not recycling if you are not BUYING things made from post consumer materials. And I think we need to force (since they obviously haven't done it on their own) manufacturers to take responsibility for what they create "from cradle to grave" - better yet to make things that actually CAN be CYCLED as Ma Nature does: the "waste" from one process is the "food" for the next in her cycles. We humans seem to think we can just make and then throw away anything we want. Well, I ask you, as the Sierra Club Hut in Yosemite asked a gathering one night, "Where is 'away'?" Then they had each side of the room point to the other side and say "it's over there!" When will we wake up to the fact that this earth is a closed system (a lifeboat carrying us thru the black void of space) - and if we befoul it we will suffer the consequences. And it's not fair to other countries for us to befoul them, to make them suffer the consequences of our overconsumption and laziness about finding REAL solutions, and refusal to include the full costs of what we produce, which do include the environmental impact! Years and years ago, soda bottles were glass and refillable. Then they switched to plastic. Then, years ago when I was in college in NY, I saw a Pepsi truck w/ a big sign on it: "NEW! returnable bottles!" Huh. Then they went back to plastic. I'll wager they think that's less expensive. But they aren't including the cost of cleaning all those bottles from the great Pacific and Atlantic garbage patches.
As another commenter said, we need to do whatever we can individually for starters. e.g. BUY LESS PACKAGING!


Posted by Nolan Broderick
a resident of Barron Park
on May 27, 2021 at 7:45 am

Nolan Broderick is a registered user.

Some ways to reduce non-recyclable wastes:

Customers bring their used plastic bottles and REFILL them with beverages and liquids from automated dispensers located throughout the stores.

Diners bring their own plates and cups when ordering take-out.

Mandatory $2500.00 fine for littering + two weeks incarceration in the county jail OR the option of 40 hours community service picking up litter scattered along the freeways, in parks and parking lots.

Tax deductions for those who re-use their disposable waste products by finding new uses for them AT HOME.

Instead of transporting garbage to the outskirts of the galaxy, use sub-orbital space transports that will naturally incinerate as they drift back into re-entry.

Recycle some of the disposable waste materials into military ordinance (bombs, mortars, artillery loads etc.). The garbage material will then disintegrate by itself plus serve to protect our country against its enemies.

The solutions are out there.


Posted by J. Laredo
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 27, 2021 at 9:17 am

J. Laredo is a registered user.

"The solutions are out there."

Overpopulation and its subsequent reliance on disposable consumer goods is the main source of this problem/issue.

Less people = less pollution and garbage.

Practical solution = maybe having fewer children

OR

Allow the Malthusian theory to run its course with unchecked famine, disease, infant mortality, and war as a practical population control measures.


Posted by Mondoman
a resident of Green Acres
on May 27, 2021 at 10:08 am

Mondoman is a registered user.

The part of our recycling shipped overseas is apparently mostly plastics and paper/cardboard. For plastics, any that can't be profitably sold in the US can just be put in a US landfill -- the plastic is inert and shouldn't cause problems. The paper/cardboard that can't be sold here could be used to fuel power generation as biomass. These alternatives seem much more environment-friendly than burning a lot of diesel transporting them around the world.


Posted by Mi Casa Es Su Casa
a resident of Barron Park
on May 27, 2021 at 12:29 pm

Mi Casa Es Su Casa is a registered user.

Recycled plastic can also be used for the manufacturing of fleece outerwear, a garment very popular among Palo Altans picky about wearing the right label (e.g. Patagonia, North Face, Eddie Bauer etc.).

Recycled plastic for plastic people.


Posted by Lance Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 27, 2021 at 12:53 pm

Lance Johnson is a registered user.

Recycled plastic can also be used as building materials.

With the emphasis and need for more housing, why not just use plastic?


Posted by Raleigh Winslow
a resident of Downtown North
on May 28, 2021 at 7:10 am

Raleigh Winslow is a registered user.

Using recycled plastic for building materials would also require a fire retardant or the air could get very toxic in the event of a fire.

And how many people in Palo Alto would pay $3M to live in a house constructed of used plastic?

An unmanned sub-orbital transport of garbage followed by re-entry incineration is interesting but would this measure have an adverse impact on the Earth's atmosphere?

If so, jettisoning garbage towards Mercury, Venus, or even the sun makes more sense if it can be achieved in a cost-effective manner.

What takes place on other planets is inconsequential as people will never settle where human life is not sustainable.


Posted by Harland Croft
a resident of another community
on May 28, 2021 at 12:37 pm

Harland Croft is a registered user.

The removal and transfer of garbage provides jobs and economic opportunities for those involved.

And while the adverse ecological impacts of this transferance of disposables pose certain residual problems, without garbage we would most likely cease to exist as humans as there would be absolutely no traces of our existence.


Posted by Massoud Akim
a resident of Stanford
on May 28, 2021 at 1:04 pm

Massoud Akim is a registered user.

Humans pollute the Earth more than any other living organism and are solely responsible for the demise of our environment.

And in time, humans will pollute themselves into extinction.

Deservedly so.


Posted by An Attorney At Large
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 28, 2021 at 3:51 pm

An Attorney At Large is a registered user.

Convenience is another reason for all of this garbage and most people do not want to be inconvenienced.

Add a growing population into the equation and there is no solution...just more garbage.

We will just have to get further used to it.


Posted by Virginia Smedberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 28, 2021 at 10:45 pm

Virginia Smedberg is a registered user.

I like Nolan's ideas. If there were local farmers' type markets all over, people could bring their own bags (net, paper, cloth) for the produce, and even the meats (remember the paper the butcher used to wrap meat in?). Then all the packaging wouldn't be needed. "Local" would also mean less fuel for long-distance transport (yeah, I like bananas, so there are some things we'd p'bly want - but we should pay the FULL cost including for the transport and related pollution), and encouraging more local farms thus more land not covered in concrete.
All the underwear and similar items' packaging drives me nuts! and why do you have to buy 4 pair if you only need one?
Lots of small items are packaged in big packages so people can't pocket them. Too bad we don't seem to be trustable.


Posted by Pierce Layton
a resident of another community
on May 29, 2021 at 7:49 am

Pierce Layton is a registered user.

- All the underwear and similar items' packaging drives me nuts! and why do you have to buy 4 pair if you only need one?

Because some people prefer to change their underwear daily?


Posted by Virginia Smedberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 29, 2021 at 7:01 pm

Virginia Smedberg is a registered user.

Pierce, most of mine are in good shape, so if I only need to replace one...
but it's the packaging that's the problem. The first step of the R's is Reduce - i.e. buy less packaging - if you can find it! So I spoze packaging 4 in one bag instead of in 4 separate bags is better - but how 'bout ditching the bags altogether?


Posted by Efren Garza
a resident of another community
on May 30, 2021 at 8:31 am

Efren Garza is a registered user.

"...some people prefer to change their underwear daily?"

Most do but there are others who simply turn them inside-out for another day of practical usage.


Posted by The Human Gasbag
a resident of Community Center
on May 30, 2021 at 11:28 am

The Human Gasbag is a registered user.

If certain 3rd world nations are amenable to recycling American garbage as an economic opportunity, who are we to deprive them of this option providing they dispose of the recyclables in a responsible and non-environmental damaging manner?


Posted by Virginia Smedberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 30, 2021 at 5:48 pm

Virginia Smedberg is a registered user.

About other nations: as you say, PROVIDING. From what I've heard (and my brother was head of recycling in Santa Cruz county for years and constantly researching what actually happens with the stuff we send "away"), it is often not done responsibly, it does damage environment AND people's health. So that's a big IF. What I constantly come back to is this: cradle to grave responsibility; operating as Ma Nature does: the "waste" produced by one system is the "food" for another. If you make something you should know at the outset where it's going to end up at the VERY end of what you see as its useful life. China was absolutely within their rights to refuse the dirty plastic we were sending them because we were too lazy to clean things. Clean plastic of certain types can actually be made into other useful things. There's a company that makes toothbrushes out of recycled yogurt container types.

Probably the MOST important factor: you aren't recycling if you aren't BUYING recycled. To be a reCYCLE, the loop has to close.

As for convenience: if the true cost of the full cycle were included in the price we pay for things, economics would trump convenience in many cases.


Posted by Tyler Harris
a resident of another community
on May 31, 2021 at 10:23 am

Tyler Harris is a registered user.

There are still plenty of places in the United States where trash can be dumped.

The Nevada desert is an ideal region as there is nothing substantial out there and the U.S. government even used it as a nuclear test site at one time.

Riverside County could also be included as a potential trash site.


Posted by Caitlin Morrow
a resident of another community
on May 31, 2021 at 10:54 am

Caitlin Morrow is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by CruiserAtLarge
a resident of another community
on May 31, 2021 at 12:01 pm

CruiserAtLarge is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Guns Across America
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 31, 2021 at 1:49 pm

Guns Across America is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Alice Schaffer Smith
a resident of Downtown North
on May 31, 2021 at 11:31 pm

Alice Schaffer Smith is a registered user.

Why can't we require ethical recycling only? I totally disagree with the attitude that if it leaves us, it isn't our problem. That thinking leads to accepting child, slave or prison labor to produce our clothing etc. Where is the Palo Alto I thought was conscientious?


Posted by Cole Mansfield
a resident of another community
on Jun 1, 2021 at 1:33 pm

Cole Mansfield is a registered user.

If the 3rd world countries want our garbage and have a use for it, why deprive them of a livelihood?

Only if they don't want it should we be looking for other alternatives like outer space or dumping the stuff in Nevada.


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 1, 2021 at 1:40 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

One of the repetitive and most contentious issues on Nextdoor is the issue of people putting dog poop bags in other people's cans. Reading this article, it makes me wonder about putting any of our garbage in other countries back yards?

On the other hand, most archaeological digs seem to produce most finds of ancient pottery and artifacts from what were their garbage dumps!

The follow through is that these bags of dog poop might be something to bring future historians questions they can't quite understand, along with similar absurd anomalies.


Posted by Lonnie Woods
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 1, 2021 at 8:36 pm

Lonnie Woods is a registered user.

>> most archaeological digs seem to produce most finds of ancient pottery and artifacts from what were their garbage dumps!

There's the answer...just create more dump yards and call them future archeological sites.


Posted by Penelope Gerhardt
a resident of another community
on Jun 2, 2021 at 9:44 pm

Penelope Gerhardt is a registered user.

My great grandmother kept goats in her backyard and they ate the garbage.

My aunt said goats can even eat tin cans.


Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 3, 2021 at 6:03 pm

William Hitchens is a registered user.

If Palo Alto REALLY wanted to track its trash, it would find it impossible or impossibly expensive. This is simple common sense political issue. Palo Alto bureaucrats should do what they should do for the Common Good of Palo Alto. Just outsource trash disposal in a way that does not subject Palo Alto, or its citizens or government, to any legal liability. So don't blame Palo Alto. They are acting legally responsible. Blame the County, State, and Federal bureaucrats who are making it impossibly expensive to dispose of simple, common, nontoxic waste. Duh!!! Ignorant ultra-lib fools.


Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 3, 2021 at 6:17 pm

William Hitchens is a registered user.

Dear Penelope Gerhardt,
You have the right idea, but I'll think that you'll find that keeping goats, especially to eat garbage, has been banned by Palo Alto ordinances because they offend the prissy rich folks. Too bad. My grandfather who grew up as a farmer had both fruit and vegetable gardens, and all of his household food waste went into improving the soil in those gardens. He was an old school farmer, and felt that household food waste was far too good to put in his garbage can. He had beautiful tomatoes, peaches, apples, and cherries. Only environmentally useless stuff went into his garbage can.

The libs who support recycling should do the labor themselves, or else they are just lazy, ignorant hypocrites. My wife and I still recycle today to enrich our garden --- and we don't hire useless, ignorant fool "gardeners" to "mow, blow, and go" our gardens. Dear Rich Folks: Get down to earth and start digging the soil on your land, you lazy -----s.


Posted by Larry
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 4, 2021 at 11:29 am

Larry is a registered user.

This article made me curious, so last week I weighed each type of material in my blue bin before carting it out to the street. About one third of the weight was glass, which was expected because wine bottles are heavy. However the surprise was that a full third of the weight was junk mail! The pity with junk mail is that unlike unlike my other waste sources, I have very little control over its arrival. Besides unsubscribing from everything I can, the best I can do is make a list of those companies bombarding me with junk mail and boycotting them. If we all do that, maybe we can make a difference. For sure that one furniture retailer on University Ave. that sends out that big catalog is on my list, as are the advertisers in those tycoon-lifestyle magazines that keep appearing in my driveway. My list also includes just about every real estate firm around, particularly the one whose name begins with "C" and advertises in this publication. I'll never do business with them.

A question for the experts: if we were to separate our paper from our plastic like we did back in the day before single-stream recycling became a thing, would the waste be easier to deal recycle at the back end? A related question: is junk mail compostable or could it be made to be?


Posted by Bob Cluck
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 5, 2021 at 9:46 am

Bob Cluck is a registered user.

>> "all of his household food waste went into improving the soil in those gardens."

We do the same...chicken bones, fish bones, fruit peelings, egg shells and crab shells go directly into our garden as soil fortifiers.

The plastics, glass, and aluminum are recycled while shrubbery prunings and lawn clippings go into the compost bin.

Whatever is left is mostly waste paper and cardboard) that easily breaks down.

We also do not use or accept any plastic disposable containers including Saran Wrap as well.

Less plastic used = less of this problem.

And our cloth goods are either made of wool, cotton, or hemp...no synthetic materials.

People who rely on plastic = plastic people


Posted by Lucille Manning
a resident of Southgate
on Jun 5, 2021 at 10:11 am

Lucille Manning is a registered user.

>>"we don't hire useless, ignorant fool "gardeners" to "mow, blow, and go" our gardens."

Most of the gardners today are not true professional gardners with any pruning, fertilizing, or aerating knowledge.

They are just landscape maintenance workers with a gas leablower on their back.

And if you look in the back of their trucks, all you will ever see is a lawnmower, a leaf blower and a rake.

Absolutely no professional skills required.


Posted by Mondoman
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 7, 2021 at 4:57 pm

Mondoman is a registered user.

Junk mail does provide a few benefits:
1) It helps fund the Postal Service
2) It can be sustainably burned for warmth once natural gas is banned in Palo Alto.


Posted by Rob Johnson/Captain
a resident of another community
on Jun 7, 2021 at 6:42 pm

Rob Johnson/Captain is a registered user.

Simple solution...more Tupperware parties encouraging folks to actually use these re-usable containers for storing leftovers and to transport their take-out orders.


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