- Oakland, CA residents and businesses have seen a tremendous increase in composting fees due to a new contract that the city has with Waste Management. The contract reflected increased rates for waste services, new emission-reducing vehicles, and an increased cost of union labor.
- Businesses throughout Oakland received high compost pickup fees in their July garbage bills, resulting in increases of $3,000 to $9,000 annually.
- Unlike Oakland, nearby cities provide diversion discounts on waste by crediting customers' bills for recycling and composting, according to Chris Hillyard, the owner of Farley's Coffee in Oakland, San Francisco, and Emeryville.
Across the nation, industry leaders and city governments have been working vigorously to reach "no waste" goals by promoting recycling and composting efforts. However, the costs of these efforts — many times resulting in fees for participants and customers — are causing good intentions to backfire.
Maria Alderete, co-owner of Luka's Taproom and Lounge in Oakland, has said that the new composting fee in her city will cause her to throw compostable waste into the trash because it will cost much less money. She voiced her concerns in a e-mail to Oakland officials, stating, "I’m forced to make a business decision based on YOUR negotiations that [are] not good for the planet.”