Representatives from Mission Trail Waste Systems presented their garbage service plan to approximately 150 people at Hillview Community Center and addressed their questions and concerns.
“I attended the meeting and I thought they did a good job explaining what will be a significant and positive change for how what we throw away is handled,” said resident Linda Gass. “It was great to see so many people show up and to hear all of their questions.”
Involved with GreenTown Los Altos, Gass said she served on the Green Ribbon Citizen’s Committee that conducted much of the research and presented recommendations to the Los Altos Environmental Commission and the city council for the waste contract Request For Proposal.
In an effort to educate Los Altos residents with details about the new waste collection pickup scheduled to start Sept. 1, Mission Trail President and longtime Los Altos resident Louie Pellegrini last week provided highlights of the residential, multifamily and commercial services.
“Our prices and program will meet the city’s needs,” Pellegrini said.
Los Altos officials stipulated requirements that called for modern collection equipment, frequent collection of recyclables and organic waste, ease of backyard composting and a later starting time – and Mission Trail came through, according to Jim Gustafson, Los Altos engineering services manager.
At the meeting, residents expressed enthusiasm over the proposed weekly collection of recyclables as opposed to the current alternate-weeks schedule and lack of household hazardous waste pickups. Attendees endorsed the introduction of larger roller carts, combining recyclables in one bin, and later collection times without any change in cost or service days, at least until June 2011.
Some residents requested continued backyard garbage pickup, currently offered at no extra cost by Recology Los Altos (formerly Los Altos Garbage Company). Mission Trail will provide it for an extra fee, Pellegrini said.Residents will have to roll their carts to the curb if they want the standard service, he said.
“Backyard pickup is a privilege a lot of the Bay Area residents have not had,” Pellegrini told the attendees. “We will offer that for roughly $10 more a month.”
Pellegrini explained that residents could put all recyclable materials in one bin without sorting.
“Comingling everything is what keeps your rates down,” he told the audience. “We can process and sort 20 tons of materials per hour in our facility. I have equipment to do all that.”
Craig Kozy, co-owner of DeMartini Orchard on San Antonio Road, is pleased about Mission Trail’s daily pickup of recycling materials, including cardboard, for commercial customers.
“I can lower my rates by recycling more,” Kozy said. “I’m also excited about the composting, which the other guys don’t offer.”
By recycling more materials, residents can lower their rates and divert more materials, he added.
Diversion rate is the percentage of waste materials converted from traditional disposal such as in landfills to be recycled, composted or reused. Mission Trail hopes to achieve a 78 percent diversion rate compared with the current 54 percent.