Oakland compost, recycling upgrades won’t come free

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Thursday announced new services added to the city’s recycling and waste management programs that will begin next month.

Schaaf, along with representatives from California Waste Solutions and Waste Management of Alameda County, convened on the steps of City Hall this morning to discuss the changes, which include the addition of an organic waste compost service for apartment dwellers.

Starting July 1, Oakland Recycles, in partnership with Waste Management Alameda County and California Waste Solutions, will begin implementing the new services to help fulfill the city’s zero waste goals, which aims to keep all recyclable and compostable material out of landfills.

Among other changes, apartment dwellers will now be able to have their owners or managers have bulky waste pickup for large garbage items like mattresses and furniture for free.

New features also include the use of natural gas-powered garbage and recycling vehicles, both of which were on display during Thursday’s event.

Aside from being energy-efficient, the vehicles are also quieter.

Drivers have already been testing out the vehicles during the past two weeks, according to a driver with Oakland Recycles.

Schaaf said:

“Our consumers can feel great that they are doing their part to help climate change, save the planet, and also make our streets more beautiful.”

David Tucker, director of community and public relations for Waste Management of Alameda County, said the changes announced today have been in the making for nearly 10 years.

Tucker said he was excited that his company will try to tackle illegal dumping in the city:

“As your preferred provider, we’re going to make you happy, we’re going to make you proud and we’re going to be here for you.”

The addition of the new features will raise the cost for residents slightly, but Schaaf said the added cost is an investment:

“For two decades, the city of Oakland has been able to keep its garbage rates below what most of the residents in the Bay Area have paid. … Now, obviously, this new increase in service will mean an increase in rates, but we know that in the long term, this will lead to greater savings in our future.”