Fw: Waste contract renewal - City of Oakland & OUSD
- Recology = formerly NorcalChris
Its great to hear from you. Im happy to hear you are involved with the OFPC, as they need local input from people with diverse backgrounds. Knowing how passionate you are about getting involved in community and schools, Im not surprised that you took this on. Ron and Gary also said to say Hi, and hope that youre doing well.
Regarding your questions, let me start with the big picture, and then address some specifics. It is no secret to either the City of Oakland or Waste Management that Recology is interested in competing for the Oakland Franchise, should it go out to bid. We hope that the City does choose to go out to bid before the contract expires in 2012. We believe the City would realize many advantages from an open bid process. The playing field has changed dramatically in the 12 years since the City last renewed their contract with Waste Management. There is now a strong focus on diversion, not only to meet state recycling mandates, but also as a driver for re-localization, green jobs, and climate change measures. Recology, as a local, employee-owned company has a more community-driven responsive operational approach than large national companies, like Waste Management, which ultimately must answer to their shareholders rather than their customers.
To answer some of your specific points: Recology does return compost produced from local organic material to the jurisdictions we serve. I think that would be an excellent incentive for the Oakland schools to put their contract out to bid. Many of the Oakland campuses have split into small schools, with a strong emphasis on healthier food and lifestyle choices. Some have community gardens, which would be aided by regular compost deliveries to improve the soil and grow more herbs, vegetables, etc. Many of the schools already recycle, but could still divert a large quantity of waste from the landfill by adding compost collection.
For example, we just implemented compost and increased recycling at the Oakland Military Institute. The students were very receptive when we explained the benefits of composting. On the very first day of implementation, we were able to divert about 90% of the waste from the cafeteria into compost. We also added paper towels from the restrooms to the compostable stream, and improved the recyclable collection from classrooms. Upon implementation of the program last month, we were able to cut their trash collection from 14 cubic yards per week to 4 cubic yards per week. When I think about the possibilities of using this model at other Oakland schools, I am tremendously excited about the potential gains: cost reductions for the schools, recycling and compost education as part of the curriculum for our kids, waste diversion, especially organics from the landfills, reducing greenhouse gases in the form of methane, and compost - a beneficial soil amendment - available for school gardens.
School Districts are State Agencies. As such, they are not bound by the local franchises, and can put their waste collection out to bid at any time. So the Oakland schools bid can be completely independent of the City of Oakland bid. That is a good thing, as this allows the school to make changes more quickly, without waiting for the entire city to choose a new hauler. So if the OFPC wants to recommend that the school district implement composting and getting compost in return, there is no reason to wait until 2012 to do that.
You also mentioned compost collection at residential apartments containing 5 units or more. Recology has implemented that in the City of San Francisco. At the recent NCRA Recycling Update held in Oakland, Stephen Chiv of the San Francisco Department of the Environment reported back on the success of that program. Implementing mandatory foodscrap recycling increased the citys overall compost collection volume by 25%. A fairly large portion of that came from large-family residential, a sector of the city which was the last to adopt compost collection. There is a lot of information available from the City of San Francisco about the success of that program. I would refer you directly to Stephen Chiv:415-35-3795 for more information.
Thats all for now I hope this info helps. I am happy to point you to other sources for more background info if you need it. I am very interested in the outcomes of the OFPC, as growing local food and supporting local agriculture is near and dear to my heart.
Look forward to talking with you soon!
Recology East Bay
520 Third Street, Suite 204 | Oakland, CA 94607
T: 415.716.9992 | F: 510.891.8651
From: Christopher Waters [mailto:christopher@...]
Sent: Friday, April 02, 2010 3:18 PM
To: Ron Risi; Gary Foss; Anastasia Nicole
Subject: Waste contract renewal - City of Oakland & OUSD
Hi Ron, Gary, Anastasia,
Hope you're all well.
I'm on the Oakland Food Policy Council and our City Innovations work group today discussed the need to re-vamp the municipal code that allows no compost pickup at buildings with 5 units or more. This is no longer applicable now that food scraps are part of the program. We also talked about finding ways to make sure more compost makes its way back to Oakland as a consumer product. I then advocated for the fact that we could be accomplishing so much more on the composting front -- as well as supporting a local business and local economy -- by installing Norcal and dumping WM. We hope the OFPC can help build momentum on this front. I understand that the contract at the city is up for renewal in 2012, which makes now the perfect time to start advocating. I also suggested that if this is going to happen, it would be weird to still have a WM contract at all the Oakland schools -- so there should be a two-pronged approach to ensure a fair bidding process on both fronts, and a solid, smart bid on both fronts from you guys.
Initial thoughts/input, please!