This article was posted on Sunday, Sep 01, 2013

At our last general meeting, representatives from Recology spoke about the approximately 21% rate increase they are seeking for garbage collection, about average for the Bay Area counties.

Recology’s position in applying for the hug rate increase is that it needs to raise rates to fund its programs and to offset rising fuel and operating expenses, including those due to the fact that it is collection and processing far more recyclables as the city pushes towards its goal of 100% diversion.  Under current rates, Recology brings in $212.8 million a year, $50.5 million less than it says it needs to operate next year.

The typical resident with a 32-gallon black, 32-gallon blue and 32-gallon green bin pays $27.91 a month.  By switching to the smaller 20-gallon black bin and upgrading to a 64-gallon recycling or compost bin and directing more of their garbage away from the landfill, that bill would go down to $27.13 a month under the new rate regime.

But, with no action, that trio of 32-gallon bins would cost $34.54 a month.  Customers who already have a 20-gallon black container and 64-gallon blue and green bins would see their rates go from $21.21 a month to $27.13.

Apartment buildings which previously enjoyed the same rate per unit as single-family homes would see a $5 base rate increase applied to each dwelling unit with a 32-gallon bin, costing $27.91 – regardless of color, but would receive a discount of up to 75% on their bill if more green and blue barrels are added.

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To allow customers to adjust to the increase, apartment building garbage collection rates will be capped at 25% of overall increased charges the first year and 50% through the second year.  These figures are all based on a 21% increase.  Thus far, the city has approved an increase of about 18%.  Rates are still being discussed.  We’ll keep you posted.  [In our previous newsletter,] Robert Reed, Public Relations Manager for Recology said that information about the application and process is available online at  The website also has a rate calculator that residential and apartment customers can use to determine costs association with different container types and related recycling discounts, which can help mitigate the cost increase.

He also continued, “San Franciscans using programs provided by Recology are doing a good job of recycling.  Our city is recognized as a national leader in the quest to achieve the goal of zero waste by 2020.  Recology provides recycling programs for everything from your used batteries to large and bulky items.  The result?  In eleven years, San Franciscans have cut the amount of material sent to the landfill by 50%.  Yet, 1,300 tons of trash still goes to the landfill every day.  That’s a problem because trash in a landfill, particularly food scraps and plant matter produces methane gas, a potent green house gas.  Instead, nearly all trash could and should be recycled or composted.

Recology and our partner city agencies encourage everyone to be more attentive to recycling.  To see our latest video, go to  The takeaway?  “If less is more, then zero is everything.”  So please remember, all trash goes somewhere.  Recology and the city commit to continue doing all we can to make your recycling and composting programs easy and convenient.  Please take simple steps to reduce waste, reuse materials, recycle and compost.  As San Franciscans, we share a common goal; to achieve zero waste by 2020.  Working together, we can do it.”

Henry Karnilowicz is President of SPOSFI.  Reprinted with permission of the Small Property Owners of San Francisco Institute (SPOSFI) News.  For more information on becoming a member of SPOSFI or to send a tax-deductible donation, please visit their website at or call (415) 647-2419.

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