Monday, January 3, 2011

San Mateo's New Garbage Collection and Recycling Program - It Saves "GREEN" In More Ways Than One.

This evening, the San Mateo City Council approved sending a proposal to neighbors to ask them to allow a 23.3% increase to garbage collection rates as the City moves to expand it's recycling and composting program with our new garbage collection company, Recology San Mateo County. 

If you are like my family, when you first saw "23.3%" you thought -- WHAT?  There is not doubt that 23.3% sounds like a huge rate increase.  

However, after reviewing the staff report and going through the details, you will find as I did that our new garbage and recycling program saves you GREEN in more ways than one.  First, despite the increase in rates, less garbage can save you GREEN money in the long run.  Second, less garbage means a more GREEN San Mateo!

The 23.3% increase is less than a $2.00 increase per quarter for a 20-gallon trash can.  In return, residents of San Mateo will be getting:
  • Single stream recycling -- No more sorting bottles, cans, paper, and plastic.  Now residents of San Mateo will be able to put all recycled materials into the big blue bin.  The ease of this process will make recycling easier for everyone.
  • Recycling of food waste -- No more throwing food waste into the garbage!  Food waste will now be placed into your green bin, which will shrink our trash cans even more.
  • Weekly pick-up of recycling materials -- No more waiting for pick up every other week.  Now, all three of your bins will be picked up every week.
With your increased recycling, you will be doing two things. 

First, the size of your trash can should get smaller.  For example, our family has gone from four trash bags a week to one!  Instead of paying to use a 32-gallon trash bin, we are using the smallest bin available, a 20-gallon bin.  This means we will pay less on our average garbage bill each month, even with the increase in rates.  And if you reduce your bin size from 64-gallons to 32-gallons, you will save over $50 per quarter on your garbage collection rates. 

The key is to use the smallest trash can available, because you pay more for the larger cans.  So if you haven't done so already, order the smallest trash can you can manage!

Second, and more importantly in the long run, you help reduce the size of our landfill, reduce the carbon emissions of our City, and leave our children with a more sustainable San Mateo. 

So while the number "23.3%" seems large, it is actually quite manageable, especially in light of the impact it will have in protecting our environment for future generations of San Mateo residents. 

I urge anyone with questions about our new recycling and garbage collection services to contact me directly, and I'll be happy to talk to you.  Or you can call the City of San Mateo Recycling Programs Coordinator Roxanne Murray at (650) 522-7346

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