Belmont parks going greener

Belmont's parks are about to receive a feature few others in the Bay Area have — compost bins.

After a recent meeting, Belmont's City Council unanimously voted to expand the parks compost program by funding six additional enclosures, officials said. The custom-built enclosures will include trash, recycling and compost bins.

“We thought it was the right thing to do,” Parks and Recreation Director Jonathan Gervais said. “With the ability to take all of this material, it really just makes sense.”

The parks program is meant to mirror what Belmont residents have come to expect at home, Gervais said.

“It shows the residents the city is adopting the same things they are,” he said

Collecting compost became a reality for the city in 2010, according to Recology spokesman Gino Gasparini. Once that occurred, Gervais had an opportunity to implement a program long discussed among parks department staff. Gervais has been leading the charge ever since.

“We want to be a leader in parks maintenance and have some role in innovation,” Gervais said.

Although many cities accept three waste streams for special events, Belmont is leading the region with its custom-built enclosures in parks.

Education is a challenge for multistream waste programs, and the Belmont parks program is no exception. Confusion over what is appropriate to compost vs. recycle or trash was among the first things the department had to educate the public on, Gervais said.

Plastic bags — even though many have a recycling symbol — gum up processing plants that aren't operated by Recology, Gasparini said.

The plastic bags with appropriate markings are recyclable and Gervais recommends that people drop them off at grocery stores.

Black plastic also is confusing to people, likely because recycling policies for the material aren't uniform in the Bay Area. San Francisco, for example, takes black plastic, whereas Belmont doesn't, Gasparini said.

The additional six receptacles have a price tag of $30,000, and the department plans to install them at picnic areas in Twin Pines and Alexander Park. Their high cost is largely because the receptacles need to be custom built, since there are few other cities with similar programs.

Gervais said he plans to continue to expand the program to parks and city-owned buildings where the parks department also manages waste.

“We want to show others that public spaces can accommodate these newer ways of dealing with waste,” he said.

Bay Area NewsBelmontBelmont Parks and Recreation DepartmentcompostPeninsula

Just Posted

The fate of San Francisco nicotine giant Juul remains to be seen, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reviewing whether to allow certain flavored vape products on the market. <ins>(Jeenah Moon/New York Times)</ins>
How the vape king of teen nicotine addiction rose and fell in San Francisco

‘Hey, Juul, don’t let the door hit you on the way out’

Cabernet sauvignon grapes sat in a container after being crushed at Smith-Madrone Winery in St. Helena. (Courtesy Smith-Madrone Winery)
San Francisco’s ‘Champagne problems’ — Wine industry suffers supply chain woes

‘Everywhere you turn, things that were easy are no longer easy’

Glasses behind the bar at LUNA in the Mission District on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. Glassware is just one of the many things restaurants have had trouble keeping in stock as supply chain problems ripple outward. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF restaurants face product shortages and skyrocketing costs

‘The supply chain crisis has impacted us in almost every way imaginable’

A Giants fans hangs his head in disbelief after the Dodgers won the NLDS in a controversial finish to a tight Game 5. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Giants dream season ends at the hands of the Dodgers, 2-1

A masterful game comes down to the bottom of the ninth, and San Francisco came up short

<strong>Workers with Urban Alchemy and the Downtown Streets Team clean at Seventh and Market streets on Oct. 12. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins> </strong>
Why is it so hard to keep San Francisco’s streets clean?

Some blame bureaucracy, others say it’s the residents’ fault

Most Read