- Today, Oakland City Council will consider adjusting composting rates so the price for businesses to recycle food waste would decrease to 10% below the rates for trash pickup. The adjustment would go into effect on Aug. 1.
- In a letter to the council, 35 restaurant owners complained about 80% to 120% increases in composting rates in the trash program that became effective July 1, under contract with Waste Management. East Bay Express reported that it costs business more to compost than to throw waste in the trash, giving restaurants no incentive to compost.
- In September, the city will ask the council to consider an ordinance that would allow Waste Management, beginning July 2016, to recoup losses from lowering the compost collection rates. It’s unclear how that would be done.
The City of Oakland and Waste Management responded quickly to the restaurant owners’ concerns. Sean Maher, spokesman for the city's Zero Waste Outreach Program, wrote in an e-mail to East Bay Express, "The City and Waste Management both recognized that the issues raised by the business community regarding compost rates needed immediate attention.”
Across the nation, industry leaders and city governments have been working 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 — have been causing good intentions to backfire.