CLARIFICATION: We have updated this story to clarify specifications of the rate increase and include comment from Waste Management.
- Oakland, CA residents, primarily owners of multi-unit dwellings, are vehemently protesting what they have called an "exorbitant” increase in their garbage and recycling rates—one property owner at a public meeting said that his bill increased 262%. Garbage and recycling bills allegedly shot up well above what the city was told to expect, according to Oakland Vice-Mayor and Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, as reported by KTUV.com. But Waste Management, one of the two haulers who service Oakland, said that as far as the services they provide—trash pickup and curbside composting—there was a 30% to 40% increase. And they notified residents in July, three to six months before the charge took effect.
- The people of Oakland have made strong accusations against both the city and Waste Management, but Public Works defends both entities. "The rates are all in the contract that the city approved," said Brooke Levin, director of Public Works.
- Waste Management bills on behalf of Oakland’s recycling service provider, California Waste Solutions (CWS), who imposed separate rate increases. CWS was not available to comment on their higher fee, which took effect in January after, and separate from, Waste Management’s hike.
Trash service expense has been an ongoing issue of contention in Oakland. Last year the heat was over increased composting rates for businesses, which have since been renegotiated. Now residents and some city officials are not happy about the new boost in fees they have since incurred, and it seems there has been confusion over what the bill is for and from whom, which has exacerbated the situation.
Both companies [Waste Management and CWS] are part of the problem, stated Councilman Dan Kalb, adding that there have been a deluge of complaints about inadequate service.
California Waste Solutions did not respond to KTVU's requests for an explanation. But Waste Management has since commented to Waste Dive: "Where you see disparity with regard to higher rates is the result of the push charge for bins, which is new [fees for failure to take large bins to the curb]," said Karen Stern, communications manager for Waste Management in Northern California and Nevada.
But that charge for Waste Management’s trash and composting services took place months ago she said.
"This month [residents] were reacting to CWS [recycling] push rate charges that went into effect in January for both bins and carts. So some may have received bills for push pull charges for all three services...We recognize that push charges have been complicated by the fact that Waste Management bills for CWS. And we are working with the customers and city to try and resolve the situation," said Stern.