Council puts off decision on bigger recycling bins

At 95 pounds and 5 feet 1 inch tall, 63-year-old Daly City resident Rosie Pate does not want to deal with a new 64-gallon recycling bin.

“It’s just the container that I won’t be able to handle and there is no room for it,” Pate said. “I just don’t want to hurt myself.”

Unfortunately, Pate and other senior citizens are facing that prospect. Daly City is strongly considering installing bigger, single-stream recycling bins and increasing its garbage rate fees by 40 percent. However, the City Council, faced with a slew of discussion, tabled the motion until Dec. 10.

Daly City residents may join others on the Peninsula who throw newspapers, bottles and cans into one 64-gallon recycling bin on wheels that would replace separate carts. The bins, collected weekly by new semiautomated garbage trucks, are meant to help Daly City improve its “worst in county” recycling record. If Daly City does not improve its record in 2008, the state can impose a $10,000 daily fine on the city.

Some residents are opposed to the new program because they think the bigger bins will not improve Daly City’s 24 percent waste-diversion rate and will only cause inconvenience to those who can’t lift the bin or have no place to store it.

The City Council heard from seniors and homeowners who oppose the new program. The city would need to hear from more than 11,000 people in order to reject the new program.

“We’re trying to do the right thing to comply with state mandate, we’re just way, way behind,” said Joseph Curran, assistant to the city manager. “In communities that went to a unified container, for some reason participation jumped up. I don’t have an explanation — maybe it’s easier or maybe it’s convenient.”

Neighboring Colma, which is served by the same garbage company, Allied Waste, has 60 percent recycling rate. Curran attributed Daly City’s bad recycling record to the city’s high foreign-born population that may not understand or value recycling.

“I think it’s counterproductive for the city if they do it this way,” Pate argued. “They should educate more people about recycling.”

Allied Waste plans to hire a new recycling coordinator and allow smaller households to apply for a 32-gallon recycling bin.

svasilyuk@examiner.com

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