Clark Mason, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Just when it seemed Windsor had a new garbage hauling company for the next 10 years, the Town Council has had a change of heart, upending a multimillion dollar deal it struck last month over one of the town’s most basic municipal functions.
The move reflects political and legal hurdles facing a proposed Petaluma recycling transfer station proposed by the new operator and comes as Santa Rosa weighs its options for a new garbage contract, one of the most lucrative services that local cities outsource.
The Windsor Council on Tuesday night voted 4-1 to reconsider the contract it awarded to Green Waste Recovery Inc., citing unresolved issues over the company’s proposed Petaluma transfer station, including its proximity to residences.
As a result, four other companies that initially bid for the contract will have another shot at hauling Windsor’s commercial and residential refuse and reaping at least $52 million in revenue over 10 years.
Read more at: Windsor to reconsider the town’s $52 million garbage contract | The Press Democrat
James Dunn, NORTH BAY BUSINESS JOURNAL
As single-stream recycling evolved, “people got more and more confused,” Salyers said. “They would throw things in that weren’t” recyclable. “We’re trying to tell them what they can put in their blue cans.”
Recycling sounds like an ideal solution to reduce mountains of trash. Facing business and legal issues, local recycling efforts are also plagued by technical and market problems.
Trash typically contains nearly two-thirds of its weight in organic material that could be composted or glass, metal, plastic or paper that can be recycled. Nearly 25 years ago, California passed law to divert recyclable material out of garbage. Some of that effort worked, but recyclables separated by businesses and consumers into blue bins often contain trash that contaminates the good stuff, reducing its value in markets for used plastic, glass, metal and paper.
Sonoma County’s trash volume dropped from 375,000 tons in 2007 to 263,000 tons in 2014, still nearly half a billion pounds. At that rate of more than 1,000 pounds per person per year, the 1.3 million people in Sonoma, Solano, Marin and Napa counties toss away more than 1.3 billion pounds of stuff a year.
The Ratto Group, owned by James Ratto, does trash pickup and recycling in Sonoma County with subsidiary companies that sprawl across the region under its North Bay Corporation: Redwood Empire Disposal in Santa Rosa, Santa Rosa Recycling and Collection, Petaluma Refuse and Recycling, Rohnert Park Disposal, Windsor Refuse and Recycling, and Novato Disposal.
Marin Sanitary Service, operated by the Garbarino family, operates from headquarters in San Rafael. Napa Recycling and Waste and Napa County Recycling and Waste serve that county. Sister company Upper Valley Disposal and Recycling serves Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga. Garaventa Enterprises serves Solano County.
An audit by R3 Consulting Group for the city of Santa Rosa presented last year alleged that Ratto’s company did not meet minimum levels of a 45 percent diversion of recyclables, and operated trucks and a recycling facility that fell short of acceptable standards.
The city contract with Ratto expires at the end of 2017 and brought the company about $27 million a year.
“The company’s two material recovery facilities are approximately 15 years old, antiquated, and are not able to process the incoming recyclable materials to current industry standards,” the R3 report said. “There is no effective means for metering the incoming materials,” and “we observed numerous rats in the facility,” far more than staff observed in comparable facilities.
One facility was ordered closed, and Ratto Group faces potential fines that could reach $14 million.
Read more at: Single-bin recycling frustrates California’s goal to divert trash from landfills | The North Bay Business Journal
Connie Madden, SONOMA COUNTY GAZETTS
In Part 1 on Waste Management – Sonoma Style, we looked at how Sonoma County waste management programs are operating currently – more plastics going to landfill since the few remaining centers no longer accept soft plastics as the resale price of plastic has fallen off, glass deposits not collected by residents, so money from broken glass goes to our hauler, The Ratto/North Bay Corporation.
Since our Sonoma Compost facility closed, we now haul our green waste to Marin County to the tune of $4.5 million per year hoping for a new facility within three years, according to Patrick Carter, Executive Director of Sonoma County Waste Management Agency, and an amazing 100 small recycling booths closed last year due to low income – seems we’re on a downward trajectory. Of course, the low point can also be part of a renewables upcycle.
Pamela Davis, a waste management consultant working with C&S Waste Solutions, sees light at the end of our waste management tunnel through contracting with the best possible hauling services and by choosing to end the use of plastic water bottles. Reaching those two benchmarks, much more recycling will be possible.
It is encouraging that the City of Windsor has set a goal of 50% recycling and its contract for services is out for bid with a new contract that came up in November 2016 while the City of Sonoma uses a different hauler than other Sonoma cities, John Curatto, inventor of The Curatto-Can (claimed to be The Future of Automated Collection). By mounting an automated container to the front forks of hauling trucks, operators can easily spot contaminants that should be removed from the trash stream, according to Curatto. One wonders if the good record of Curatto-Can, recently purchased by Environmental Solutions Group, a division of Dover Corporation, Fort Payne, AL can continue with an out of state home office.
Read more at http://www.sonomacountygazette.com/cms/pages/sonoma-county-news-article-5991.html