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.