Hot Off The Press

By SPRAWLDEF Research & Development Director/NCRA Director David Tam, 510 859-5195
The legal challenge by Sacramento-based environmental attorney Kelly Smith on behalf of Sustainability, Parks, Recycling And Wildlife Legal Defense Fund (SPRAWLDEF) and David Tam to approval of a Marsh Development Permit (MDP) for the proposed expansion of the Potrero Hills Land Fill by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission on 9 April was moved by San Francisco Judge Harold Kahn from his court to the court of Solano County Presiding Judge Paul Beeman, who has heard two other challenges to the project.  Mr.Smith's SPRAWLDEF-Tam brief is or will be posted on the NCRA website .  After the administrative record has been transferred, trial and briefing schedule will be set. 

By Narcisa Untal, Senior Planner, Solano County Department of Resource Management, Published in The Reporter, 04/10/2012
A single car or truck tire is composed of 70 percent rubber, 15 percent steel and 15 percent nylon fiber. To unleash these valuable resources locked up in old tires, they have to be properly recycled.

Solano County’s Waste Tire Amnesty Program makes it easy to recycle old tires as well as the rims and steel wheels. Pre-registration has started and will continue through June 30 or until grant funds from CalRecycle are depleted. A voucher will be generated from the website that outlines when and where participants can drop off the old tires.

Since September 2011, Solano County has diverted more than 4,600 tires from landfills through participation in the program. All of the tires were recycled. The tires will not be landfilled or shipped overseas. Instead, they will be recycled at state-approved tire shredding and crumb rubber production facilities in California to create new products. The program is open to all Solano residents but waste tire generating firms or haulers are not eligible. Tires of all sizes and types are accepted. The maximum number per address is 40 per month, subject to waste tire hauling limits. One voucher is good for up to 20 tires.

By Matt Hickmann, Mother Nature Network (MNN), 04/11/12
Like New York, Chicago is a world-class city with world-class sustainability initiatives. But when it comes to recycling efforts, both cities have long lagged behind. Way behind. Heck, Eric Goldstein, a senior attorney with the National Resource Defense Council, even compared the Big Apple’s recycling operations to an “after-school clarinet program.” Ouch. And organic waste pick-up services a la San Francisco and Seattle? Fugeddaboutit.

New-ish Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, however, is vowing to correct the city’s infamous recycling inadequacies — including this colossal embarrassment and, of course, the controversial Blue Bag Program introduced in 1995 and abandoned in 2008 — by bringing curbside recycling to all Chicago residents in 2013. Currently, curbside recycling is a luxury provided to only 261,000 Chicago households (241,000 households until very recently) while about 320,000 households are blue bin-less.

According to the Chicago Tribune, citywide curbside recycling was something repeatedly promised by loooongtime former Mayor Richard Daley (1989-2001) but, as it goes, it never happened. Now, thanks to the fact that two private companies, Waste Management and Sims Municipal Recycling, have been competing for work with city sanitation crews (a scheme introduced by Daley before leaving office) for the past six months, recycling costs have plummeted 35 percent from $6.3 million to $4.1 million. Emanuel promises that the saved money will be used to at long last roll out curbside recycling to the masses. Just last week, 20,000 households in the Bucktown, Wicker Park, and Logan Square neighborhoods started curbside recycling services.

Said Emanuel in the announcement made late last week:
Competitive bidding for recycling services has saved taxpayer money and increased efficiencies while maintaining quality service. These savings and efficiencies will help to make citywide recycling in 2013 a reality and further Chicago’s reputation as a leader in sustainability efforts. No longer will Chicago be a tale of two cities when it comes to recycling.

Emanuel also announced that competitive bidding will also extend to street marking and tree trimming services in an effort to save additional funds. Although the recycling bidding between private firms and city workers is slated to end in June, Emanuel suggested that he would delay any decisions to further drive down costs: "What will happen, every six months (Streets and Sanitation Commissioner) Tom (Byrne) and his team will evaluate this, and then at one point, if somebody brings down the price even further, we'll rip that Band-Aid off."

Chicagoans, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this recent development. Are you currently without curbside recycling pickup service? If you do indeed have it, are you serviced by the city or one of the private contractors?

Emanuel pledges citywide recycling in 2013, Chicago Tribune, 04/06/12
Awful Truth About Recycling In Chicago, Chicago Reader, 08/06

By Phuong Le, BusinessWeek, 04/11/12
Striving to reduce the trash it sends to landfills, Seattle has banned foam take-out containers and plastic bags, told residents they must recycle cardboard and compost food scraps, and set up a registry for people to opt-out of getting phonebooks. Some city officials think the city can do even more: they're now weighing whether to stop picking up garbage from homes every week.

Switching to every-other-week garbage collection would save the city about $6 million a year, officials say, while reducing neighborhood truck traffic and potentially keeping an additional 1,400 tons of waste a year out of the landfill. The city council is deciding whether to test the concept in about 800 single-family homes this summer. If the pilot project is successful, the idea may be rolled out citywide, making Seattle one of the largest U.S. cities to embrace the reduced pickups. A council committee vote is scheduled in May. Read more - Business Week...,