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City to expand recycling program for homeowners

Original post made on Apr 7, 2009

Pleasanton homeowners could soon be recycling more of their waste materials at home than sending it all to Pleasanton Garbage Company's recycling center, joining millions across the country who now chuck more cans to the curb to help directly in the country's e-waste recycling programs.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, April 7, 2009, 8:02 AM

Comments (42)

Posted by AVHS Dad, a resident of Stoneridge Park
on Apr 7, 2009 at 12:10 pm

AVHS Dad is a registered user.

We already accumulate our glass/plastic bottles and aluminum cans and haul them to the dump where they pay us for them.

Are they saying they will want us to put our bottles/cans in with our other garbage? Then charge us more to process it?

Posted by confused, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2009 at 12:53 pm

Aren't we currently supposed to put our food scraps in the same container as yard waste?

Posted by Bel, a resident of Val Vista
on Apr 7, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Mr. Bing can you please clarify your article? its very confusing.

Food scraps and food soiled pappergoods are already allowed in the green waste can, they gave us a little green pail to save them which has a list of what can go in it.

As far as I know trash and tin cans go in that big black can, or are they considering giving us a recycling can like Dublin has?

It mentions helping E-waste programs, but E-waste is handled at Ewaste recycling days and is not allowed for regular trash pickup.

Posted by stevep, a resident of Parkside
on Apr 7, 2009 at 4:52 pm

stevep is a registered user.

The full story is in the Times, but basically, you'll be charged 14% more to sort the garbage that workers at the transfer station were doing. We'll have to spearate items, leaving the sorters without jobs and your rates go up as a result. And, you'll have another obtrusive can to store...nice trade-off, eh?

Posted by Steve, a resident of Jensen Tract
on Apr 7, 2009 at 5:24 pm

According to PGS, the food scraps can already go in with the yard waste. So we get a bigger green waste can? I suppose a bigger can would help in the summer and fall but not at the expense of a higher monthly bill.

Posted by Kiko, a resident of Val Vista
on Apr 7, 2009 at 7:08 pm

Please, no more cans. Wait until the city gets it worked out, but no more cans. I'll either have to buy a storage shed or start burning the stuff, oh damn, I can't do that either because I will be polluting the air. Is Al Gore behind this ?

Posted by Grace, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Apr 7, 2009 at 10:03 pm

Stevep said "The full story is in the Times, but basically, you'll be charged 14% more to sort the garbage that workers at the transfer station were doing. We'll have to spearate items, leaving the sorters without jobs and your rates go up as a result. And, you'll have another obtrusive can to store...nice trade-off, eh?"

Ah, having been around the Bay area for a while, this reminds me of both the water districts and PG&E's rationale for raising rates: "we must conserve customers!! Cut back your usage because resources are limited! Please cut back, for the common good!!" And so, we all cut back and did our duty. Result? Wow, to our surprise (well, to our surprise the first couple of years that this happened, then it was a "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on ME" situation...) well, we got letters in our bills saying "oh folks, well, because of an unprecedented fall in our revenue (hmmm, why?) well, we're going to have to ask for a rate increase!!"

Okie doke. So if what Stevenp says is correct, because WE are now going to be sorting out our recyclables (something I have no problem with at all; that's how many other places I've lived in the Bay area deal with it) and they're giving us another bin (maybe; this part of Jeb's story is a bit confusing), we're putting folks out of work and well, our rates are going to have to be raised... surprise(?) !

Maybe someone (that would be one of the reporters, perhaps?) could clarify this line of reasoning and possible conclusion?

Posted by West Side Ovserver, a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 8, 2009 at 8:24 am

"In addition, the Pleasanton Garbage Service will make periodic checks in each neighborhood to determine if the new recycling rules are being followed."

Maybe this detective work can be provided by the smoke police and the garbage service can lower their rates.

Posted by Timothy T, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 8, 2009 at 8:26 am

We do more of the work and our rates go up. This makes sense?

The best part is that the council thinks that Average Joe knows which items are recyclable better than people who are paid to do the work every day. I guarantee most people would have thought a pizza box is recyclable.

Good luck with that.

Posted by resident, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Apr 8, 2009 at 8:31 am

Please, no more cans............I already have two green cans for yard clippings and the black can. I do my own composting and do not need another can along with the increased fees. Think about this, the cans are ugly to begin with and some people do not have a large fenced in area to keep them out of sight and you want to add another one.

Posted by downtownmom, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 8, 2009 at 8:38 am

Timothy T, I fact I'm one of the doh-dohs that puts their pizza box in the green waste can...thought those were compostable! While I totally agree that more trash/recyclables should be diverted from landfill, I say keep the dudes at the dump sorting the trash--they're clearly more qualified!

Posted by Confused, a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Apr 8, 2009 at 8:43 am

The article is poorly written. It is very confusing and hard to follow. I wish the PW staff and editors would do a better job of proofing and editing before they publish these articles.

Posted by Julie, a resident of Avila
on Apr 8, 2009 at 8:55 am

Given my limited storage space I cannot fit another large bin out of public site. And given I am the only one in the household, I don't need another 96 gal cart. Are there going to be smaller, box like bins available?

Posted by Member, a resident of Lydiksen Elementary School
on Apr 8, 2009 at 9:03 am

Can you imagine what a parking space shortage on the street we will have on garbage pickup day? How do you like that Lydiksen School families? You get to manuever around all the extra cans you can't be blocking access too and then you can manuever around the garbage truck right when you need to get your kid(s) to school.

While I hate it that the PGS starts their noisy trucks in my neighborhood very early in the morning, I am glad to be able to bring in my cans from curbside before I go to work. It looks more tidy that way.

I, too, will need a small shed for all my trash cans, as we have a larger lot with lots of landscaping and require two green waste cans. This means we already have 3 cans that go curbside.

I wish our Garbage Person would figure out when his truck needs emptying so that this person didn't have to run through my neighborhood twice a morning. Now I'd bet we could end up with even more disruption of the garbage trucks and the route will go slower.

The fact that they want to charge us more for this is, in this bad economy, is ridiculous. How deep do these people think our pockets are? Ticked off...

Posted by Gopi Krishnan, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Apr 8, 2009 at 9:21 am

Well, the City Council does it again. Can this crew get anything right??? I understand why we may need to go to street-side recycling. But the rate increase at the same time they are cutting out a major cost (the sorting station) is a real load of (er, garbage)! Did the Council once again get shown another sweetner (we don't want to use the B word - rhymes with Tribe)? Voters really need to think about doing a major house cleaning at the next election for City Council.

Posted by John, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2009 at 9:22 am

You would think they would ask more from our monopoly garbage service -- like advertised junk pick up - like most othe communities.

(they do have junk pick up - but you have to read the back side of your pink bill to find out when it is)

Oh and having the garbage folks determine who gets 14% increase - now that is just brilliant.

The City council snuck this one in

Posted by Tim, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2009 at 9:28 am

I bet my neighbors will be mad when I get a smaller garbage can. My 96 gallon can is only about half full when I put it out. Somehow, by the next morning at pickup time it is full up.

Posted by Jill, a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Apr 8, 2009 at 9:29 am

I agree the the article is poorly written and confusing. As best I can tell, this is what we're looking at:

1. Either a 64- (current size) or a 32-gallon can for actual garbage--stuff that can be neither recyled nor composted.

2. A 64-gallon can for recycling. Cardboard, paper, plastic, cans, as outlined at Web Link. What will be new is that they'll apparently accept ALL plastics rather than just #1 and #2.

3. A 64-gallon can for yard waste and food scraps/compostable items. According to Alameda's Food Scrap recycling page (Web Link), this includes any food soiled paper, such as paper towels or pizza boxes.

Honestly, as a family of five, we have FAR more recycling than we do actual garbage. I'm pretty certain we could get away with the 32-gal garbage can, which involves a pretty minimal cost increase.

Posted by Mari, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 8, 2009 at 9:31 am

All I can say is that I have been waiting a long time for Pleasanton to get in gear and start doing some serious recycling. In Alameda County Pleasanton has been at the bottom of the list for a long time. Rate hikes will be minimal if people choose to sort and recycle.

Posted by Joe, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 8, 2009 at 9:33 am

Leave it to the city council to screw-up what is a good idea. ANOTHER CAN and RAISE THE RATES. What's wrong with using the blue bags many of us have been using for recyclables and putting those in the general refuse can?

I thought PUSD had the problems but at least we get to vote on the Parcel Tax.

Posted by Randy, a resident of Mission Park
on Apr 8, 2009 at 9:36 am

Great another can to store at my house. We already recycle the items taking them to the process station our selves. This entire process doesn't make sense, we now do the work for the garbage company, they collect the recycle money and we don't anymore?????? This should really help the schools on the can drives. I guess the kids can just collect the cans before the garbage trucks get there in the morning! Ha Ha Nice job city council.

Posted by Mike, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2009 at 9:37 am

Pizza boxes do go in the yard waste container. From the PGS website: Web Link

Posted by Harry, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2009 at 9:44 am

I guess we can get rid of the blue plastic bags that we now use for paper products with this new plan. I never thought the blue bags survived the trip through the garbage truck anyway.

Not sure this is a good "green" solution as it requires another garbage truck tour through the city using more gas, with more pollution, at more cost. Did anyone specify the savings from no longer having to sort the garbage? Does everything we do have to always cause a rate increase?

Posted by Canyon Oaks Resident, a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Apr 8, 2009 at 10:15 am

If we are doing the recycling and eliminating the job at Pleasanton Garbage Service, why do we have to pay more? One would expect to pay more for added services not for reduced services and the customer having to do the job themselves.

Posted by Bob, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 8, 2009 at 12:34 pm

So, we still keep the sorters to sort through the recyclables? Or are we supposed to separate the recycleables?

Posted by Really?, a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Apr 8, 2009 at 12:42 pm

The PGS is not getting the job done with recycling which is why they are moving towards this program (did anyone read the article?). It's amazing to me that there is this much resistance to curbside recycling in Pleasanton- we are so behind the times with regards to reducing our waste and recycling. And the job of sorting recyclables at PGS is not going to be eliminated- instead the workers will be sorting the different types of recyclables vs. sorting the recyclables from the trash.

Posted by Stop Voting For Clowns, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 8, 2009 at 12:43 pm

Stevep, Harry, and many others are correct. This is another poorly planned imposition on our lives and wallets thanks to the do-gooders. I already sort all of my recyclables into the blue bags which requires me to keep an extra trash can in my garage, I put all green waste in that container, and I haul recyclable drink containers (two more containers in my garage) and cardboard to the recycling center (which piles up until I have enough to justify burning the fuel to go to the dump. So now we'll pay more, put more ugly trash cans in our yards and at the curb blocking parking spots, and PGS will need to cruise town in a third truck for every route. Brilliant!

Time to stop voting for idiots who put their environmental Utopian dreams ahead of common sense.

Posted by Tim, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2009 at 1:03 pm

We have a compactor in our kitchen. Can we compact all of the recycables into one block of stuff or do the bottles/cans/etc. have to be whole so that they are more easily separated wherever they go.

Posted by localCheapskate, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2009 at 1:42 pm

I don't want to pay ANYTHING extra.....ever! BUT, this plan is GREAT. I couldn't believe that Pleasanton didn't have a recycle bin along with thrash and yard waste when I moved here. Everyone complaining simply hasn't thought it out completely. Separating recyclables from YOUR trash, is YOUR job! Now it is time for YOU to put in an effort in saving the earth. (remember to wear gloves)
Its simple, look, your trash goes in the trash can, the yard waste goes in ...(wait for it)... the yard waste bin, and the recyclable products go...where? There should have always been a recycle bin, and I want to THANK YOU for making things right!

Posted by go green!, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2009 at 3:38 pm

I agree with localCheapskate. This plan will mean that recycling will increase, and that's a GREAT thing.

I also want to point out that there will still be sorting going on at the recovery station. As the article says, "the recovery facility will be converted to handle only the separation of those recyclable materials." At our house, it will be simpler. We will put all our recyclables (glass, plastic, tin cans, aluminum foil, plastic bags) into one bin to go to the curb. Then, at the recovery station, the recycle bin contents will be sorted, so that plastic can be sent to one place, glass to another place, etc.

For our family, this will be less work than we currently do. Because our recyclables take up so much space that we would need more than one black bin, I go every other week to the transfer station with our different types of bottles and cans sorted, put our other plastic recyclables into appropriate bins (because milk jugs and yogurt smoothie bottles don't have deposits), put our newspaper and cardboard in separate bins... now, I won't have to do so much work. More of the recyclable items will actually get recycled, because they won't get contaminated by the other items we can put into the black bins now.

Plus, the smaller black bins will give people an incentive to *reduce* what they throw out. Recycling is not the only way to protect our environment.

Like Ms. Cook-Kallio said, "consider the cost effectiveness in terms of what we do with our environment by not dumping in our landfill. This is something we need to do."

Otherwise, sooner or later, we'll end up living in Wall-E world...

Posted by Dee S, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2009 at 5:31 pm

No room for more cans!!

Our neighborhood consists of detached, zero lot line homes. I.e. there is a single 36" inch wide walkway between each home.

Realistically, there isn't even enough room for a 96 gallon container.

Homeowners are obliged to put the garbage in the garage, on the back patio,in the narrow walkway, (Totally blocking it = safety hazard),or leave the cans in the driveway (An unsightly practice the City should ban).

Arrangements must be made to accommodate these unique,city approved, neighborhoods.

Posted by Saddened, a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Apr 8, 2009 at 5:40 pm

I was so sorry to read this PGS article because we have often bragged about Pleasanton's PGS's recycling methodology to our friends and family around the country. Many times it has prompted enthusiastic discussions about how much more efficient the sorting would be when done by people trained to identify what could/couldn't be recycled. Most people were inspired to go out and work with their community in hopes of achieving a system like PGS offers.
It saddens me to learn that the PGS system has proven less efficient than the manual system. It's not that I will mind doing more of the pre-sorting on my own, but you must admit, the storage areas for the various containers becomes more dirty and congested -- and often more attractive to rodents and bugs.
If there is a way to save jobs and improve the current system, I would prefer to designate my added dollars to that cause.

Posted by Rae, a resident of Mohr Park
on Apr 8, 2009 at 7:24 pm

I won't mind getting a smaller can for my unrecycled garbage, but my question is: Why are we not being offered a smaller can for recycled items?

I live alone in a small, "0-lot-line" house with limited curb access. I do not generate enough garbage, recyclable or not, to justify a third large can sitting in my driveway. Why not offer residents options on the size of their cans, and then charge accordingly? Or why not promote the use of the blue bags? If we use(d)the blue bags, there's no extra pick-up required since those bags can go in the larger can we now have.

I'm struggling to understand. It seems, as with most utilities, we conserve and then pay more for it - monetarily and otherwise!

Posted by Anthony, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 8, 2009 at 7:52 pm

This is a 3 can system. One can for garbage, one for greenwaste and one for recyclables. Many people will be able to switch to a smaller garbage can now that they will have a 96 gallon recyclable container. Great move PGS and city!

Posted by Eileen, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 8, 2009 at 11:48 pm

Did anyone proofread the article for accuracy and clarity before they printed it?
Pizza boxes go in the green can.

Posted by Why the extra route?, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 9, 2009 at 8:26 am

I also don't understand why the blue-bag system isn't being promoted more to eliminate adding an extra truck/route. Burning one resource to save another?

To keep the number of cans on the sidewalk limited, the weekly routine might include a recycle-only day and a trash day.

Posted by Tim, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2009 at 9:02 am

Do the Blue Bags really survive the trip through the garbage truck pick-up? I would think they would be ripped to shreds after getting dumped into the truck (but I don't really know).

Posted by localCheapskate, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2009 at 9:05 am

I believe it will be like other towns I have lived in. One week you put out the garbage and the yard waste, and the next wek you put out the garbage and the recyclables. So garbage is picked up every week and the "green" and "blue" cans take turns going out every other week. That is why you might need all three containers to be the big 96 gal. can.
Is there a time frame to look forward too? How soon will this be happening?

Posted by Claudette McDermott, a resident of Del Prado
on Apr 10, 2009 at 9:33 am

Claudette McDermott is a registered user.

It's about time! When I lived in Fremont we had three bins that fit between the curb area and the sidwalk off of the streets. No blocking the sidewalk or streets. It worked fine.

Posted by Neighbor, a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Apr 10, 2009 at 8:00 pm

I agree with Claudette. It's about time Pleasanton started a "true" recycling program - which most of the Bay Area already has.

Here's some tips to ensure you only need a "small" garbage can:
1) DO NOT TAKE A BAG WITH YOUR PURCHASE! Reusable canvas sacks are don't need to buy a canvas bag. Remember the last business conference you attended and they gave a free 'bag'? Also, I bet Good Will sees many bags that can be used for groceries, etc.
2) STOP BUYING CRAP YOU DON'T REALLY NEED! turn off your TV and read a book (from the library of course). You'll be amazed at how commercials were driving your false desires for 'things' that supposidly made you 'happy'.

You can even reduce your yard waste by ripping out your lawn (which you never sit on) and planting drought resistant landscaping. Is it just me or does anyone else think it's crazy to have water sucking lawn in a naturally arid region like California? Water is a precious resource and we waste it on lawn (which we then have to cut with our air-polluting lawn mowers). Thirty years from now, your water bill will be as much of a concern as your gasoline bill.

We need to start changing the way we think about our natural resources. Our Grandma was a bit weird about "reusing" that margarine tub for other things. But maybe she was ahead of her time by being environmentally conscious.

Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 11, 2009 at 2:25 am

"Pleasanton Garbage Service will make periodic checks in each neighborhood to determine if the new recycling rules are being followed". Now we'll have "Garbage Police" poking around in our garbage cans??? Will they have a gun and badge...:)

This is too funny...

Posted by nuka george, a resident of Danville
on Apr 15, 2009 at 8:03 am

wow, that is soooo true!!! it was interesting! peace out

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