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Organization Says Trash Company Isn't Recycling Lamorinda's Green Waste

The California Compost Coalition says Republic Services has violated its contract by not taking lawn and yard clippings to its recycling facility in Milpitas

Republic Services of Arizona
Republic Services of Arizona
An environmental organization is accusing the area's recycling collector of violating its contract by not taking Lamorinda's green waste to its recycling facility.

Officials at the California Compost Coalition say there is no record that any of the region's yard and lawn clippings is being composted by Republic Services of Arizona.

Monica White, an Orinda resident representing the coalition, asked the Lafayette City Council on Monday night to investigate the matter.

White said her group will also present the allegations to the Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority when it meets Thursday morning to discuss which companies should get the region's new 10-year garbage collection contracts.

“If Republic Services is playing games with our recycling, we should not reward this bad behavior by giving them another 10 or 20-year contract,” White said.

Officials at Republic Services were contacted by Patch, but they had not issued a comment on the accusations as of Tuesday evening.

White said there is no record in CalRecycle's Annual Report that any of the 16,513 tons of Lamorinda green waste collected by Republic Service has ever made it to the company's Newby Island composting facility in Milpitas.

White said those clippings are most likely ending up at the landfill. She added food waste is also being mixed with yard waste, which is against state law.

Right now, Waste Management of Texas collects waste in Lamorinda and then delivers it to Republic Services, which under its contract is supposed to recycle it.

Waste Management spokesman Joe Camero said the company has been delivering the green waste to its Davis Street Recourse Recovery Facility in San Leandro.

He said Waste Management officials would be upset if Republic Services hasn't been taking the waste from there to its recycling facility.

"We support Lamorinda's efforts to achieve zero waste solutions," said Camero.

The accusations come as the Solid Waste Authority prepares to hand out a 10-year, $500 million contract to haul and recycle trash for 65,000 households in Lamorinda, Walnut Creek and Danville.

The authority's staff is recommending that Republic Services get the contract to collect and dispose of trash as well as run the recycling centers and process green and food waste.

The staff recommends Pacific Rim Recycling of Benicia get the contract to handle the recyclables.

Paul Morsen, the executive director of the authority, said there has been some misinterpretation of the CalRecycle report in the past. However, he said his agency will take the issue seriously.

"The CCCSWA takes the contractual requirements with our collectors very seriously and if any improprieties exist, we will immediately take steps to insure that our contract services are being correctly implemented now and in future contracts," said Morsen.

Lafayette City Councilmen Brandt Andersson and Mike Anderson, the city's representatives on the solid waste authority, say they are waiting to hear from the agency's staff after they've had time to investigate the charges.

They say if the staff's answers aren't satisfactory, they'll ask Lafayette officials to look into the matter separately.

Dennis Wanken January 29, 2014 at 09:31 AM
Reminds me of Moraga-Orinda Disposal in the 1990's. And that guy went to prison.
gavilan January 29, 2014 at 12:30 PM
If true, a value for the cost of permanently entombing our yard waste in a landfill should be calculated and the company should be fined triple that amount, plus barred from any contract with Lamorinda for 10 years. But what really caught my eye was this line: "She added food waste is also being mixed with yard waste, which is against state law." Really? Why were we told to just dump the contents of the kitchen container into the green bin then? And what's wrong with mixing these wastes? Green is green. If it's really being composted, then it all breaks down, which is the whole point. (One solution to all this is to compost ourselves and keep most of this out of the waste stream. It's pretty easy. Lafayette Community Garden can teach you how.)
theresa January 29, 2014 at 03:24 PM
After writing to Central Contra Solid Waste Authority last night, I just now received the following message from CCCWA: The Central Contra Solid Waste Authority has been copied on several e-mails from our customers asking us to look into whether Republic Services is composting green waste in accordance with the franchise contract with us. An organization, Organic Waste Solutions (OWS), has alleged that a substantial portion of green waste collected in our service area is not being composted, as contractually required, but rather is being landfilled. We have requested a meeting with OWS to ascertain how they have arrived at their conclusion but a scheduled meeting with them was cancelled at their request and they have not been willing, as of this writing, to reschedule. It appears that OWS has misrepresented or just not understood the green waste tonnage reports as made to CalRecycle, the California State Agency where solid waste reports are made. The tonnage statistics used by OWS seem to come from State records (CalRecycle) that they are misinterpreting. The CCCSWA takes the contractual requirements with our collectors very seriously and if any improprieties exist, we will immediately take steps to insure that our contract services are being correctly implemented now and in future contracts. However, we feel that OWS’s allegations are simply not true. Paul Morsen Executive Director Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority
BarryT January 29, 2014 at 06:00 PM
I pay my monthly bill to the garbage company and they take the waste away from my house. What they do with it from there i really dont care. Good luck with that refund.
gavilan January 29, 2014 at 07:55 PM
@theresa: great follow-up. Sounds like another article, retracting this article, is needed.
theresa January 29, 2014 at 09:34 PM
gavilan, maybe another article's not needed until some real news happens. ;-)
gavilan January 30, 2014 at 11:51 AM
It's not news that Patch reported something that appears to be completely false? Seems to me that a response from Organic Waste Solutions (OWS) would be a good place to start.
theresa January 31, 2014 at 05:11 PM
today's communication from CCCSWA: This e-mail is to keep you up to date on the allegations that Republic Services is not composting green waste collected within the CCCSWA service area. As you know, Organic Waste Solutions (OWS) has made the above referenced allegations and since they were unable or unwilling to meet with CCCSWA staff, so we could review the material upon which they base their conclusions, we reviewed our records and could find no impropriety in the delivery destinations for our green waste. OWS made these same allegations at the CCCSWA Board Meeting yesterday which was the first time staff was able to speak with them on this issue. OWS has now agreed to meet with staff and we are, at the time of this writing, trying to schedule a meeting as a first step to begin our investigation into the claims. We take this seriously and, rest assured, we will do everything to get to the bottom of this matter. We will keep you advised as we move forward. Paul Morsen Executive Director
theresa February 06, 2014 at 06:40 PM
new communication from CCCSWA: Good Afternoon… This e-mail is to keep you updated on statements that have been made regarding collected green waste not being composted in accordance with the current CCCSWA franchise contract with Republic Services in 2011 and 2012. Though we did not believe the allegations were correct, we did not have all the documentation that the Organic Waste Solutions (OWS) group relied upon to make their claims. Yesterday, OWS agreed to meet with the CCCSWA staff and as a result we now have their documentation in-hand and as well having had the opportunity to discuss their claims with them. Their claims are serious and we are taking them seriously. In order to put this matter to rest, I have employed an independent consultant/investigator who has no current relationship to any firms that are being considered in our selection of the new franchise contractor(s). Nor has the consultant, Intelliwaste Inc., had any prior relationship to us or our consultants. Intelliwaste’s charge is to: 1) Determine if Republic Services is composting green waste, including green waste from CCCSWA communities that allow home food scraps to be mixed with this material, in accordance with the current contractual obligations; 2)Determine if Republic Services has exceeded contractual limits on use of green waste as alternative daily cover (ADC) at the Kellar Canyon Landfill and determine if there is evidence that Republic Services is using CCCSWA green waste mixed with food material as ADC; 3) Assess the adequacy of the CCCSWA’s annual reporting against requirements established by CalRecycle as it relates to green waste composting and ADC use. Intelliwaste will have their investigation report ready for the CCCSWA Board Meeting on February 27, 2014. As soon as the report is completed (a few days prior to the meeting) it will be shared with you. Paul Morsen Executive Director Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority
eereiche February 12, 2014 at 05:27 AM
Theresa, thank you for these updates.
Cathy February 12, 2014 at 12:21 PM
I am a Moraga resident. Each week I see the garbage men empty both the compost bin and the recycle bin into the same truck. What's up with that? How can each waste be disposed of properly if it is co-mingled like that?
gavilan February 12, 2014 at 03:40 PM
@Cathy: I believe the truck has two compartments and the hopper that the stuff goes into has a large gate that shifts back and forth -- one side and the green goes in; shift the gate and the mixed recyclables go in...
theresa February 24, 2014 at 02:10 PM
today's communication from CCSWA: Good Morning… In a previous e-mail, I stated that the CCCSWA had employed an independent consulting firm to evaluate and report on the allegations made regarding our, and Republic Services’, handling of greenwaste and alternative daily cover within our service area. The firm of Intelliwaste, who has experience in these types of investigations, researched and prepared the attached report. Please click on the below link, and scroll thru, to find the CCCSWA staff report dealing with this matter, the report itself and its executive summary as well as the 400 pages of documents Intelliwaste reviewed to determine their findings. Thank you for your interest in the CCCSWA’s greenwaste programs. In the future franchise contract period, for which the Board of Directors is now planning—March 2015 through February 2025—the Board, long before the current allegations surfaced, had directed all greenwaste within our service area to be composted so as this resource can be appropriately managed for environmental sustainability. http://www.wastediversion.org/files/managed/Document/1831/Staff%20Report_IntelliWaste%20Final%20Report%20and%20Exhibits.pdf Paul Morsen Executive Director Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority
theresa February 24, 2014 at 02:11 PM
http://www.wastediversion.org/files/managed/Document/1831/Staff%20Report_IntelliWaste%20Final%20Report%20and%20Exhibits.pdf

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