Environment Department pushing for new landfill contract

San Francisco environmental leaders are pushing through a cheaper, newer and environmentally friendly contract to collect and dump The City’s trash.

The Department of the Environment has filed a resolution for introduction at the Board of Supervisors authorizing San Francisco to enter into a contract with Recology — a San Francisco-based company — to take San Francisco’s trash to Recology’s Ostrom Road landfill. This will happen once The City’s current contract at the Altamont landfill is expired, which is likely around 2015.

The resolution is slated for official introduction at the Board of Supervisors’ Oct. 5 meeting.

The Recology contract would save San Francisco ratepayers as much as $125 million during the life of the contract, officials said.

“This is a good deal for San Francisco and for the environment,” said SF Environment Director Melanie Nutter. “Ostrom Road is a state-of-the-art facility that employs industry best practices, and the price is dramatically lower than the competition. This will help us maintain reasonable refuse collection costs as we move toward zero waste.”

The landfill disposal contract is for 5 million tons or ten years, whichever comes first. San Francisco currently sends about 1,400 tons to the landfill each day, but that amount is expected to decrease over the coming years because of San Francisco’s successful waste prevention, recycling and composting programs.

San Francisco is now recycling 77 percent of its waste stream, the highest diversion rate of any city in the nation. The figures compiled by The City’s Environment Department for 2008 show that San Francisco diverted just over 1.6 million tons of material — double the weight of the Golden Gate Bridge — through recycling, composting and reuse. Only 560,000 tons went to landfill, the lowest disposal on record.

esherbert@sfexaminer.com

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