August 3, 2008

City Sees Greener Garbage Future: Staff to Back San Jose-Based GreenWaste

By Will Oremus, Palo Alto Daily News, Calif.

Aug. 3--Palo Alto has found a new trash collector it believes is up to the challenge of eventually recycling or composting all the city's waste.

The city's staff is recommending that the city council on Monday approve negotiations with GreenWaste Recovery, a privately owned San Jose firm with an environmental bent. GreenWaste bid $115 million for an eight-year contract to replace Palo Alto Sanitation Company, better known as PASCO.

The city told potential bidders it aims to divert 73 percent of all waste from landfills by 2011 and strive to eliminate it completely by 2021. To do that, the new hauler will need to begin collecting organics for compost and expand single-stream recycling to include textiles, hardcover books, and milk and juice containers, among other things.

Only two companies responded. PASCO opted out, citing business issues with its parent company.

GreenWaste, which collects for cities including San Jose and Woodside, was the low bidder. San Francisco-based Norcal proposed to charge close to $2 million more per year.

If the council gives GreenWaste the nod, annual rates are expected to rise about 7 percent. That takes into account a projected 21,000-ton reduction in landfill waste in 2009-2010, saving $1.4 million.

Under Palo Alto's "zero waste" program, recycling will become mandatory. Residents who fail to separate recyclables and compostables from solid waste will get warnings starting in 2009 and fines starting in 2010.

E-mail Will Oremus at [email protected]


WHAT: Palo Alto City Council meeting

WHEN: Monday, Aug. 4, 7 p.m.

WHERE: City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto

WHY: The city council will choose a new garbage contractor to replace PASCO. Staff is recommending Greenwaste Recovery, a San Jose-based firm that emphasizes recycling and compost.


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