- The City Council of Milpitas, CA has voted unanimously to change the disposal site for its waste from the Guadalupe Recycling and Disposal Facility to the Kirby Canyon Recycling and Disposal Facility — both owned by Waste Management — for an additional $1.2 million, as reported by The Mercury News.
- Avoiding potential litigation was cited as one of the main factors in this decision. Residents around the Guadalupe site have complained about odor issues in the past, whereas the Kirby Canyon site is located in a less populated area.
- This switch will lead to a 12-18% increase in prices for commercial customers in Milpitas. Per the terms of the city's current disposal contract with Republic Services, residential rates had been subsidizing commercial rates.
This is the latest in a series of regional shifts spurred by Milpitas' decision to not renew its current collection and disposal contracts with Republic. Last fall, the city awarded a new collection contract to Garden City Sanitation and finalized the decision to stop using Republic's local Newby Island landfill. Republic challenged the latter decision through a ballot petition, but voters affirmed the city's choice.
Resentment over local odor issues — including ones from other sources — played a role in this outcome. The company has been working to address its share of the problem and received approval for a 95-foot vertical expansion of the site late last year. While this site will stop receiving waste from Milpitas residents soon, it will still take material from San Jose and neighboring municipalities.
As California municipalities work toward the state goal of a 75% diversion rate by 2020, with a particular focus on organic waste and packaging, the need for new landfill capacity could eventually decrease. Though for the near future they will still need disposal options, despite opposition from the residents that create this waste. In this situation it appears that the city has decided paying a little extra is worth keeping this function out of sight.