San Francisco Trash Collection About to Get More Expensive

Recology worker
A Recology worker dumps compostable materials into his truck in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

By Peter Lollo

The average San Franciscan’s trash collection bill will increase from about $28 to $34 a month starting Aug 1. Recology sought the rate hike last year

Adam Alberti, a spokesman for Recology, the city’s waste collection firm, says the new rates are an ironic result of the progress San Francisco has made toward the goal of producing zero waste by 2020. As people use their black trash bins less, he said, waste collection firms must compensate by charging more for recycling and compost.

“Traditionally, the garbage industry has placed all of the charges on the black bin,” Alberti said. “When you are moving toward eliminating the black bin, that creates revenue (instability).”

Under the new rate structure, Recology will charge $2 each for its blue bins and green bins, which hold recycling and compost. Previously these receptacles had been provided free of charge.

But Alberti says the new rates still offer economic incentives for waste diversion. At the cost of $25.08, a 32-gallon black trash bin is still the largest charge on a customer’s monthly bill. And residents who reduce their trash bins from the standard 32-gallon to a 20-gallon version can completely offset the cost of rate increases.

Additionally, Alberti said, some of the rate increase will be put toward the cost of new waste reduction efforts, including sorting the contents it receives from black trash bins in order to remove compostable and recyclable items.

“We believe that at least 30 to 50 percent of what does go into the black is erroneously put there, and could be pulled out and sorted and put back into recycling and reuse programs,” he said.

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  • Dr Smith

    So we reduce our trash and now we get to pay more.

  • nutjob2

    Why isn’t there competitive bidding for trash collection? Great business where you charge the customer for increased efficiencies. How is their “revenue stability” our problem?

    The obvious answer is to not use or get rid of your green and blue bins. Money saved!

  • Nick

    There’s a lot of incentive in CA and particularly the Bay Area to transport your recyclables to the nearest recycling center anyway, since there are soo many of them and since there is a refundable five-cent deposit on almost all cans and bottles that you purchase. I would imagine the people who find the amount of money you can get back from these items to be insignificant enough to go ahead and give that money to a collector out of convenience can pretty easily absorb the $6 increase, but for me it doesn’t make much sense to pay someone to take all my recyclables and then keep all my nickels (which add up!) as well.

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