Agency junks big trash contractor

Recycling and composting will become easier — and slightly more expensive — for scores of San Mateo County residents in coming years under a trash-hauling contract announced Wednesday.

The South Bayside Waste Management Authority expects to dump the company that collects waste for its 100,000 customers, including 90,000 households, and hire a company with more advanced recycling services, according to executive director Kevin McCarthy.

“It’s really a dramatic expansion of services,” McCarthy said. “Today, our local residents have a very outdated collection system.
“For example, recycling collection is only every other week … andcustomers are only given these small tubs to put their recyclables out.”

San Francisco-based NorCal Waste Systems will take over the contract, due to expire in December 2010, according to McCarthy. Some services could be rolled out before 2011, he said.

Most homeowners paying $15 to $20 per month trash-collection bills will pay $2 or $3 more per month, he said.

Households and businesses in Atherton, Belmont, Burlingame, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Hillsborough, Menlo Park, Redwood City, San Carlos and San Mateo along with the County of San Mateo and the West Bay Sanitary District will be affected.

The waste-hauling contract has never before been put out to bid, according to McCarthy. It’s currently held by Allied Waste, the nation’s second-largest trash-collection company, whichinherited the contract when it bought out a previous serviceprovider.

The company, which bid against Norcal and two other companies for the contract, had been criticized for skipping trash collections and providing poor phone-based customer service.

Evan Boyd, general manager of Allied Waste’s San Mateo County division, said he was disappointed by the authority’s decision. He said the problems experienced between 2004 and 2006 were corrected in part through a local management shake-up.

The authority’s board of directors is expected to vote to approve the contract Aug. 28.

jupton@sfexaminer.com

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