- San Mateo, CA City Council has voted to stop a three-month pilot proposed by RethinkWaste, during which some residents had their trash collections cut from weekly to alternate weeks, but received larger bins. Composting and recycling remained on the current weekly schedule. Residents had the choice to not participate and continue with their original pickups.
- Government officials heard residents' concerns about the program and expressed their own concerns, including that the company is under new leadership and has already generated complaints. Rats could also become a problem, and there are concerns tied to costs, as households' monthly bills would only be reduced by $2.
- The city may ask RethinkWaste to revise its proposal, as reported in The Daily Journal.
The pilot was intended to assess whether cutting trash picks up in half would be an impetus to get residents to recycle more, thus helping California get closer to its 75% diversion goal by 2020. But one day into the pilot last month, city officials asked to postpone the plan.
However, it may not be dead in the water; the city may ask Rethink to come back with another proposal addressing expressed concerns, and meanwhile some people have suggested tweaks to the plan. Resident Mike Ross proposed that officials consider charging by the pound for garbage rather than by bin size, as similar models have been considered elsewhere to incentivize residents to toss less in their garbage bins. The Division of Environmental Health suggested starting the pilot during the hottest months to assess for potential for odor and pests.
Deputy Mayor David Lim agrees with the basic program concept and principal, but is not ready to commit to changes.
"... We do need to reduce our trash to the landfill, and we need to find ways to encourage more compost and recycling,” he said to The Daily Journal. "At this point, I can’t say ... that I'm going to trust any of the data we get. So I think I would approve the program, but I need to see a huge sea change in who's running it and what we're being told."