Council Set to Approve Organics Program Despite Questions About Survey Techniques

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yard-waste-bike-path1Staff recommends the city council introduce an organics ordinance creating a City-wide Organics Program. As proposed, staff believes it can be implemented “with no additional rate increase to customers other than annual Consumer Price Index increases through November 30, 2019, based on City rates adopted on September 24, 2013.”

The city has long been pondering a way to change the method of collecting yard waste from exclusive collection of on-street yard waste piles to a system where such waste ends up in containers. As a sort of compromise the city council is supporting a hybrid system of organics carts to collect food scraps, yard waste and other organic materials and on-street yard waste piles.

Single-family residential customers will receive a 95-gallon organics cart that will be picked up once a week, on the same day as trash and recycling. Additional carts are available for a fee. Yard waste piles will be collected once a month with them collected weekly during the peak leaf drop season beginning the third week in October through mid-December. Streets will be swept after yard waste piles are collected.

Staff argues that these carts provide four key benefits. They will first reduce waste. “Davis has a waste reduction goal of 75 percent diversion by 2020 (1.9 pounds of waste generated per person per day). Currently, Davis is diverting 65 percent of its waste. Organic materials make up 25% of residential waste and 15% of commercial waste. Removing organics will increase the City’s diversion rate and move the City closer to its diversion goal.”

Second, they will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They argue, “Composting organics instead of sending them to the landfill will reduce greenhouse gases. When organics decompose in a landfill they produce methane, which is 72 times more potent than carbon dioxide.”

Third this will improve stormwater quality and safety. Staff argues, “Yard waste, particularly small items such as grass clippings and leaves, can be pollutants and create health and safety issues when they are washed down the gutters. Organics carts, just like trash and recycling carts, may only be placed out in the street for collection, then must be removed promptly. The proposed organics program limits yard waste piles to being placed the street no earlier than 5 days before a scheduled pick-up. This will result in yard waste piles placed on the street approximately 122 days out of the year in each neighborhood (approximately 156 days city-wide) as opposed to the current 365 days.”

Finally they argue it will produce cleaner streets by placing leaves, grass and other yard materials in carts that will reduce wind-blown litter.

Staff also noted that last October, Governor Brown signed AB 1826, requiring businesses to recycle their organics wastes by April 2016 and mandating local jurisdictions to implement organic waste recycling programs by January 2016.

Efforts to move from street dumping of green waste to containers have a long and controversial history in Davis. Original attempts to do a pilot project were met with resistance and eventually the program was terminated.

Bicycling advocates have long argued that green waste is hazardous to bicyclists, as waste ends up in the bike lanes at times. This led the city to double stripe the bike lanes hoping that waste would end up in the vehicle parking lane rather than the bike lane.

However, green waste in the gutters have additional concerns about storm water quality that has prompted the city to look for another solution. The hybrid approach seeks to remove much of the waste from streets while allowing community concerns about the feasibility of putting tree trimmings in a container to have an alternative to containerization.

The new program would address some of these concerns by limiting yard waste piles placed on the street to no more than 5 days prior to pick-ups in the fall. It would have restrictions on where they can be placed with prohibitions on them placed in any portion of bike lanes, and clarifying that when not double-striped, a minimum clear width for bicycles is five feet. Leaves and grass may only be placed in yard waste piles when the organics cart is already full.

There can be no yard waste piles in the downtown core area.

City staff claims to have received ample feedback. They cite again that they “used Davis Together::Engage, a community engagement tool, to inform, create community dialogue, gauge customer feelings and solicit input on the proposed program.”

Of the 341 residents who participated, 58 percent of customers indicated that the level of service in the proposed program would meet their needs, while 82 percent stated that they thought collecting and composting organics would be beneficial to the city.

As we noted last week, however, the city’s use of the “Davis Together::Engage” convinces distinguished professor Arthur Shapiro to write that perhaps it is true that most residents are all right with the yard waste bins. He writes that, based on what we know, we have “no reason to believe that.”

He argues, “To assess whether a sample was adequate and to estimate a survey’s margin of error, one needs to know the survey’s design. But this ‘survey’ isn’t really a survey in any valid statistical sense, and it has no apparent design.”

The problem starts here: “How can we tell whether the 335 respondents adequately represent community opinion? They are self-selected, which is to say likely to be highly motivated on the issue.”

He continues, “What percentage of Davis households knew that a survey was being conducted? For that matter, what percentage of Davis households have ever heard of the ‘Davis Together::Engage social media tool,’ let alone have accessed it? And how did they learn about it?”

Professor Shapiro concludes, “Anyone with any experience in survey design and implementation can immediately recognize the ‘results’ reported in your story as worthless. Surely America’s most-educated city can do better than this.”

Despite quite a few letters on this subject, city staff does not address these concerns in the staff report.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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82 thoughts on “Council Set to Approve Organics Program Despite Questions About Survey Techniques”

  1. zaqzaq

    The use of this survey tool indicates that city staff did not care what the results of the survey were.  They already knew what the recommendation would be.  If the big issues are storm water quality controls and increased organics then they should not be charging for a second bin.  Most people will just fill up their trash cans with organic/yard waste instead of paying extra for a second bin.  My trash bin is a quarter to a third full on any given week.  I know where my excess yard waste will be going.  I also wonder if I put a large pile of yard waste in front of my neighbors property three weeks before pickup who will be subject to the enforcement action.  Some homes are corner lots and the side of my neighbors lot has become the neighborhood dumping ground for yard waste.  He doe not appear to care.

    1. Alan Miller

      Some homes are corner lots and the side of my neighbors lot has become the neighborhood dumping ground for yard waste.

      Yeah that’s true.  I live on a corner and stuff from other lots gets left on my corner fairly often.  I have no idea who dumps there, and haven’t cared much — I guess I’ll have to install CCTV.

      1. Frankly

        The storm drain argument is crap.  This is organic material that would end up on the ground, and rain water would fall on it and drain to the gutters.  It does not matter where it is located, the same level of nitrates would derive.  In fact, given this change, I can see people just piling stuff in their grassless front yard waiting for the time to put it in the gutter.

        There are so many things wrong with the “logic” of this, that it is clearly the bike extremists pushing the agenda.

        Here is the reason.  They want their “platinum bike city” award, and the body that awards it has a problem with our street-side pickup of yard waste.  That is the issue here… the platinum bike city designation pursuit is ALL that this is about.

        One one last point.  Large plastic bins in my yard and out in front of all the homes LOOK LIKE CRAP!   I cannot believe that a city that prides itself on being green and organic would vote to load up the community with all these giant bins made of oil products over the look of natural vegetation.   We don’t like plastic grocery bags messing with our natural state, but we will put thousands of humongous bins all over the city!!??

        There is nothing at all rational about this move.  It is just activists demanding their way and to hell with everyone else.

        1. Alan Miller

          it is clearly the bike extremists pushing the agenda . . . they want their “platinum bike city” award, and the body that awards it has a problem with our street-side pickup of yard waste.

          Hmmmm. . . . . with all the reasons Davis doesn’t deserve such a designation, that seems pretty low on the list.  Reasons it shouldn’t include:  1) Crappy downtown bike circulation;  2)  Horrendous maintenance of off-street bike paths decomposing much worse than the street grid; 3)  An insane disconnect in some city staff pushing to have a linear corridor necessarily filled-in with commercial buildings — rather than a bike path / transportation corridor — in the unlikely event the N/S are rails ever be removed.  THAT in and of itself shows Davis doesn’t deserve any rewards as a bike city, as most cities CHERISH linear corridors, not sell them off to pay for an insane so-called rail relocation scheme; 4)  Not insisting on full funding of the connection between The Cannery and the H Street tunnel before allowing The Cannery to proceed — total warped dumbassedness.

        2. Alan Miller

          I am disappointed.  IMHO, this allows Davis powers-that-be to justify all the stupidity that still exists regarding bike access in this town.  Win an award, bike on our laurels.

        3. Frankly

          Thanks for that DP.  Unbelievable… “Beyond Platinum”…

          This tends to confirm my thesis that activism is a full-time perpetual motion machine.

          Will they be satisfied with beyond platinum?

          Probably not.

          Meanwhile my pursuit of eliminating the square foot of ugly hard plastic bins in my small yard has fallen to “Beyond Ugly”!

  2. Michelle Millet

    The current system does not allow for collection of food scraps and other food related compostable materials. Moving to containerization will allow residents to add these items, which make up about 30% of our waste stream, to yard materials, which is brought to a composting facility, instead of the landfill.

    1. hpierce

      Michelle, the current system DOES allow for the collection of other food related compostable materials.  We do it in our back yard, and use it for compost.  The existing system provides educational classes and materials to help people do this.  Apartment complexes could choose to do that for folk who don’t have back yards.  To be honest, think where this is heading to a system where it will go from “providing an opportunity” to “mandate”.  Next will be “garbage police” to ensure that no one misses the ‘opportunity’ to go “zero waste”.  That’ll add costs to the system, in addition to the additional collection efforts.

      To all, the SW “issue” is one made up by those who need to justify their regulatory existence.  The “science” and the “cost/benefit” are not there.  There are those in the regulatory environment who know that rainwater is not 100% pure H2O.  They’d like to regulate cities to not only prevent the contamination of rainwater, but actually cleanse it before it moves downstream. Helps justify their existence.

      If “green waste” is so bad for the stormwater component, we need to crack down BIG time, on forests, wetlands, agricultural lands.  Just look at an aerial of California.  There are those who point out that urban areas create more petrochemical/other toxics.  Yet, green wastes placed near gutters actually intercept and absorb some of those contaminants, particularly during “first flush” rainfall events.  You can actually observe this, but have never had the resources nor inclination to “prove” this.  For stormwater, once the effluent has left the piping system, it can be ‘treated’ in channels, typical for much of Davis.

      If anyone thinks these issues are “no brainers”, one way or the other, it means they lack knowledge or are not using their brains.  It is not “simple”.

       

      1. Michelle Millet

        Lets see, if people have the option of going to educational classes, then attempting to maintain a working composting pile, which requires people to separate out their food scraps, then make sure they get the right combination of wet to dry materials, take the temperature of the pile, and take the time to turn it, then let it rest, and start another working pile, OR put food scraps into a different receptacle which one do you think most people will choose, and which one do you think will lead to a significant amount of diversion?

    2. Alan Miller

      Food scraps can be done in one’s own compost pile if one has a yard.

      Apartments are not where the yard waste piles are maximized.

      There must also be a willingness for people to separate out compost, which is a lot messier than recycling separation, therefore participation will be much lower.

      1. Michelle Millet

        We throw our food scraps in a bowl next to our sink, this is not the messy part.

        That happens  after we empty into our “composting pile”. I’ve never gotten the right combination of wet/dry food ratio (so real composting never really happens) and what our chicken don’t eat, the increasing large rat population does.  Looking forward to having an alternative to feeding the rats, that doesn’t require sending our household compostables to the landfill.  Although my neighbors cat may be disappointed by the slimmer pickings…..

         

        1. Don Shor

          1. Most people won’t compost at all. Even fewer will compost kitchen waste, and if they aren’t going to do it properly they shouldn’t do it at all.
          2. Leaves can be composted on site in an average yard. Downtown properties with small yards and big trees might find that impractical. But in most places leaves can be left in place, can be raked and piled in other parts of the yard, can be spread out over the vegetable garden, or can be mowed into the lawn. Some might have too high a volume of leaves for that or for their compost receptacle. If periodic street pickup is still available during leaf-drop season, that problem is minimal.
          3. It will be very impractical for some people to use the compost receptacles at all. Some will strongly prefer not to. So long as they are optional and can be returned if not wanted, it seems that this issue shouldn’t be controversial. Probably the majority will keep them and use them most of the time. Some will not. So those folks can send them back.
          The survey was a pointless exercise and should not be used in defense of this policy. If, in fact, storm water concerns are driving this decision, the council and staff need to lay that information out fully and clearly at the meeting. The current proposal is a compromise that should take care of what most people generate with minimal fuss.

        2. Michelle Millet

          So it is more practicable to expect for people to maintain their own composting piles then it is to expect them to put their food waste in a different container?

        3. Michelle Millet

          And there are people who will. Should we not recycle because some people will never bother to separate out their recycling? One thing is for sure, if we don’t give people who don’t want to deal with attempting to maintain a backyard compost pile, but want to divert food scraps a way to do so,  it WILL never happen.

          1. Don Shor

            I hope the council will implement the policy gradually, providing the new dumpsters to one part of town and seeing how many people use, don’t use, or actively wish to return them, before expanding it to the next area. I certainly hope they don’t just put out to bid for a dumpster for every residence and business. If a large percentage of people use them, and a small percentage return them, the program can be judged a success.

  3. Alan Miller

    Council Set to Approve Organics Program Despite Questions About Survey Techniques

    You’re kidding right?  There are not “questions” about the survey technique; the city used a completely self-selected group on an unknown site and then used it to justify a program.  I have no idea who made the decision to use the poll and claim it was justification for city opinion on implementation of a large program, but I wouldn’t trust them to add two plus two and get something somewhat around four.  Most people wouldn’t need to even take a basic statistics course to know this was a falsehood.   Getting a usable scientific poll if difficult even if you have a proper sample of residents.  This is not “in question”; to use this “survey” to make such a claim is incompetence, or the false belief that everyone in Davis is lead-poisoningly stupid.

  4. Alan Miller

    Yard waste piles may be removed.  That lessens bicycle hazards, but there are still occasional sticks / rocks / branches in dark areas.  There are a large number of bicyclists who now have lights for visibility relative to years ago (despite all the complaints about those that don’t), but having a beam to illuminate the road ahead remains relatively rare.  The responsibility for not hitting yard waste (which I’ve done!) is really on the bicyclist, and other hazards on dark streets will remain.  One thing that could help is distribution of mini orange cones to place in front of yard waste piles, since there will always be a lot of bicyclists who don’t have a front beam light, and make it a fine not to use the cone.

    1. Davis Progressive

      “The responsibility for not hitting yard waste (which I’ve done!) is really on the bicyclist”

      you mean you don’t think it’s on the people dumping crap in the bike lanes?

      1. hpierce

        You conveniently leave (leaf?) out the fact that the proposal is for the entire city, whether bike lanes are present or not, and in most places, it is stored where cars would park in the ubiquitous 15 foot ‘bike/parking’ lanes.  Nice.  Helps you “prove” your apparent goal of containerizing all yard waste, whether it improves safety or not.

      2. Alan Miller

        People “shouldn’t” dump in bike lanes, but obviously no one is enforcing this.  I have hit other things like branches on dark streets as well.  One thing that I realized is really lacking in bike safety tips is having an ILLUMINATING beam so the bicyclist can see the street at night.  Most just have a white or blinking white light if they have a light at all.  I realized this about my own night riding recently, and I am purchasing a beam light imminently.

    2. hpierce

      If you’re making the point I think you are about “lights”, there are “running lights” (so you can be seen) and “headlights” that function so you can see (roadway), and be seen.  I’ve always used the latter.  Maybe explains why I’ve spent over 30 years in Davis and never run into a brush/green waste pile.

      1. Alan Miller

        why I’ve spent over 30 years in Davis and never run into a brush/green waste pile.

        That’s my point!

        I realized that, yes, the pile “shouldn’t” be there, but I’ve hit other stuff on dark roads as well, and really, that’s on me.

        1. hpierce

          C’mon, Frankly… the proposed change is unnecessary, eventually more costly, especially with the need to create more containers manufactured from petro-chemicals, requiring more energy, water for cleaning, etc., but you could have used the terms “ill-informed”, “naive”, “short-sighted”, and avoided the ugly “S”-word.  Please be more ‘civil’.

    1. KevinLee

      Do we have any statistics on how many cities in California use containers for this type of material?  How about other states with similar landscape as California?  I am curious if we are the exception or the norm.

  5. Frankly

    Instead of that photo of the nice looking green pile, why not take a picture of the street on trash day?

    I would much rather see those neat green piles than those ugly massive plastic containers everywhere.

    1. darelldd

      By the time trash day rolls around, those pretty green piles usually have a lot more dog crap piled on them.

      You’ve pointed out that the cans are (generally) only out for one ugly day. The green piles are out being ugly 24/7/365.

      1. Frankly

        Ugly?  I don’t know Darell, I don’t see piles of plant matter as ugly.  I see it as natural, organic, a sign that residents are caring for their landscapes instead of letting them go to crap…I see it as better fitting with the Davis DNA than does 100 gallon bins made of petroleum products.  But that is just me.

        1. Biddlin

          And just wait until a bicyclist, jogger or motorist runs into a 96 gallon container of wet greenwaste (or Volkswagen engine block and pistons or the neighbour’s deceased Shetland pony) in the dark of night and the damages are assessed. But the hauler and can vendors are very grateful.

          ;>)/

        2. Davis Progressive

          yeah i mean, it’s not like we don’t have 96 gallon containers on the side of the streets as it is… oh wait.  we call them garbage cans with their smaller recycling brothers.

      2. Frankly

        Oh yeah… and that ugly plastic container that you say only stays on the street for one day a week… where is it the other six days of the week?

      3. tribeUSA

        I agree with Frankly; I don’t see them as ugly either. Many of the clippings also smell very nice as I walk or bike past them (I like the smell of grass clippings less than a week or so old, and of many plant clippings and prunings, especially evergreens).

  6. Paul Thober

    My objection is to this duplex, old-and-new approach – we will have the new containers, the trucks to collect, and still the “claw”  and the truck(s)  and the piles of yard waste in the streets and bike lanes. I cannot imagine that it will cost less. So who is in favor, other than the mythical  “survey”  participants?

  7. Michelle Millet

    You guys are killing me. I can’t look at this thread anymore, I’m getting a headache;-) I’m going to read some zero waste blogs so I don’t feel so alone in the world…..

  8. Dave Hart

    If we didn’t have electricity in our homes and were asked to respond to a scientific survey on whether we should have electricity in our homes, I guarantee you that in a town like Davis, 70% of us would be against it.  If you asked people who had an interest in electricity they would be 58% in favor.  So, do what is progressive.  People don’t like things to change.  That doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea.

    I’m a cyclist and I don’t care whether yard waste is in a pile or not.  Trying to “hang” this on cyclists is bogus.  Some people have suggested it is better for cyclists and I understand the argument, but it is equally valid for cars.  Piles of crap get dragged around by cars driven by people who don’t see the piles all the time.  I never see them driving over the garbage containers.  They will have a hard time avoiding the organics containers, too.  Another step forward for humankind.

    Turns out this is not a “new” idea at all.  My friends in Sacramento, Berkeley, Gilroy and San Francisco all use green bins.  They shrug their shoulders when I ask what they don’t like about them.  They look at me like, “Hey, what else would you do?”  I tell them about just dumping the stuff in the street.  They look at me like, “Yuck, do you dump a chamber pot in the street too?”  I always respond that against the wishes of Davisites, we recently got indoor plumbing so we no longer do that.

    There is no reason to keep using the claw (as much as I do love watching it) and I look forward to retraining myself to stop using my garbage disposal for food waste by sending it to the waste water treatment plant.

    That whine you hear is just the machinery of change.

    1. Frankly

      The only whine I hear is the drone of ignorance chasing irrational environmental feel good goals.  Like banning incandescent bulbs and demanding florescent bulbs that contain mercury.  What group of funny fools runs with this stuff without even doing the cost-benefit math?

      Then they just make crap up like it will save 25% waste in the landfill.  Right?  Just because we put out new bins people will consume 25% less?  Trees will drop 25% fewer leaves.  Grass will grow 25% slower?  The poor math is astounding?  I guess in Davis everyone is an English or Women’s Studies graduate and got to skip basic accounting.

      Yes other communities demanded the ugly bin solution.  And many of them are stupid too.  But some of them have other reasons that cause the math to work.  Not Davis.

      I am guessing that a lot of people thinking that another gargantuan plastic bin is a good idea have crappy yards and like to look across the street at their neighbor’s well-kept yard, and don’t like those green piles spoiling their view.  And since their neighbor has to store the big ugly plastic bin in their side yard or back yard… there are those bonus points forcing the neighbor’s (out of view ) yard to be crappier too.

      Is Davis really progressive, or just insecure and anxious that it isn’t doing what everyone else is doing?  It appears to be the latter.

      1. Don Shor

        Then they just make crap up like it will save 25% waste in the landfill.

        It could save 25% waste in the landfill if the yard waste is redirected to composting. We won’t know until they implement the program. When you get your can, call them and tell them you don’t want it. End of problem for Frankly.

        1. Frankly

          Don’t most people in Davis compost, have chickens or a garbage disposal?

          I will be refusing the can.  And if they won’t take it, I will deliver it to Robb Davis’s front porch in my gas guzzling truck and leave a note that says it is a gift from Michelle.

          1. Don Shor

            Don’t most people in Davis compost, have chickens or a garbage disposal?

            I would say no, most people in Davis don’t compost and most don’t have chickens. A higher proportion than other communities probably do/have those things. But not most.
            I can’t speak to the garbage disposal question.

            Drill holes in the bottom, plant it with bamboo. Voila! A portable screen.

        2. Frankly

          What Frankly, when you put food down the garbage disposal do you think it just magically disappears?

          The point was/is that it does not end up in the landfill, right?

      2. Michelle Millet

        Just because we put out new bins people will consume 25% less? 

        Who said anything about consuming less? Food waste makes up 25% of our waste stream. Instead of food waste going to the landfill it will now go to a composting facility.

        The only whine I hear is the drone of ignorance chasing irrational environmental feel good goals

        (Knowing what a “foody” you are I’m sure you have some very nice cheese to go with this whine.)

        1. Frankly

          Golly Dave, because my business is currently located here and I generally like it here and there are more people living here that have similar views to mine than you probably know about since you probably do not rub shoulders but with people that do not share your views.

          But NAPA is looking good!

        2. Barack Palin

          Frankly

          there are more people living here that have similar views to mine than you probably know about since you probably do not rub shoulders but with people that do not share your views.

          That has been my experience too.  My neighbors and friends are pretty much of the same mind as I when it comes to city politics and policies.  It doesn’t look that way when you watch city council meetings but that’s just the same usual activists that hound the council.  I have to hand it to them though, they’re well organized.  Unfortunately the council often caves to this outlier group.  I would hope that the council would start to realize that these people don’t represent Davis and begin making their decisions with the whole community in mind, not just the loud minority.

          1. Don Shor

            The voting record in Davis doesn’t reflect your opinion that those are outliers or a minority.

        3. Barack Palin

          The voting record in Davis doesn’t reflect your opinion that those are outliers or a minority.

          You’re talking about national politics.  If you read my post I’m talking about local city politics and policies.  Big difference.

      3. Alan Miller

        “Like banning incandescent bulbs and demanding florescent bulbs that contain mercury.”

        Amen, Frank Lee, amen.  Of course, the real answer is LED bulbs, now that they are available in the correct color spectrum and affordable.  But let the market decide, not forced by government.  I banned the F-ing mercury bombs from my house years ago.

  9. tribeUSA

    Has anyone investigated the sanitation aspects of adding organic kitchen waste to yard waste bins?

    Seems to me that in short order these bins would be lined with a sticky slimy layer of rot infested with fungi & bacteria with a hellofa stench; and vermin would multiply. Yuck!

    Kitchen waste scraps constitute an insignificantly minute percentage of rotting organics on an areal or regional scale (i.e. rotting vegetation in towns or fields or the wilderness). I suspect that within landfills the presence of such organic waste helps speed up the degradation of other harder-to-decompose wastes (such as wood, paper, plastic, etc.) by providing some otherwise limiting micronutrients to bacterial and fungal community assemblages.

    1. Michelle Millet

      Nothing really breaks down in a landfill, especially after an area is capped. Food breaks down quickly and starts emitting methane, a potent greenhouse gas, usually before an area is capped, which is one of the reasons why its beneficial to keep it out of the landfill all together.

      1. hpierce

        A well managed landfill places perforated pipes in the waste, collects the methane gas (product of anaerobic ‘digestion’), and either flares it off (not particularly good) or uses it to generate electricity to offset landfill electrical needs, and/or sell the  energy to the electric utility. Even if “flared” it is released as CO2, not CH4 (methane).

        1. Michelle Millet

          This methane collection method takes a place after a section of the landfill is completely capped, (aka no more waste is getting added). In the interim methane is released in to the atmosphere.

        2. tribeUSA

          Oops, accidentally pressed report comment again, apologies.

          yes, methane is a very potent greenhouse gas, but it oxidizes to CO2 in the atmosphere in a reasonable time frame. And the amount of CO2 thus added to the atmosphere from kitchen waste is negligible as compared to natural sources (as I understand it the biowaste will be going to power plants, which will burn it to CO2?)

    2. Michelle Millet

      Seems to me that in short order these bins would be lined with a sticky slimy layer of rot infested with fungi & bacteria with a hellofa stench; and vermin would multiply. Yuck!

      Many restaurants, grocery stores, and schools, (including Birch Lane where my kids attend) have been participating in a pilot food waste composting program for years. There have been no complaints of these carts smelling. I opened one up the other day to check, and I’ll admit I was surprised to learn that  it didn’t look or smell much different then any other waste receptacle.

  10. hpierce

    From the proposed ordinance:  “(2) All customers, businesses and tenants shall separate organics from other refuse generated on the property and shall not deposit organics in either the trash or recycling cart or bin.”

    One piece of lettuce, chicken fat, one ounce of bacon grease, placed anywhere in the ‘trash’ will be a violation of this ordinance, and subject to citation.  We jump from ‘providing an alternative’, ‘encouragement’, to compulsion.

    Apparently it is not enough to “promote”.  What’s next?

    1. Barack Palin

      What, are we going to have the garbage police now monitoring our trash?  I for one am not going to separate my food scraps.

      If this is going to be mandatory why do they offer an opt out?

       

       

        1. hpierce

          Did you read the ordinance provision I cited?  It’s on the City web site if you don’t believe me.  “Shall” is mandatory. “Should” is advisory.  “May” is permissive.  Basic legal terms.

        2. Barack Palin

          Okay hpierce, from the proposed ordinance if they make it mandatory then why would they offer an opt out for people that don’t want the can?

        3. hpierce

          Elsewhere in the ordinance, they give you the option for ‘alternate arrangements’ [on-site composting, etc.](WARNING, I only read the ordinance once)… the key is, if you are using DWR, via City, as the ordinance is currently drafted (subject to change), if you dispose of organic wastes (other than what you can flush down the toilet, or via your garbage disposal), you will need to segregate it and place it in the new containers.

          The above is just looking at the common usage of the words used in the ordinance.

          As to “why would they offer an opt out for people that don’t want the can?”, je ne sais quoi.

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