East Bay News

Group alleges waste isn't being properly composted

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

A garbage war is brewing in central Contra Costa County over how much of the waste is being composted. A group that includes local residents says the company that's supposed to be composting tens of thousands of tons of green waste from this community and others simply isn't doing its job. They will present their findings to the City Council Tuesday night.

Families throughout the East Bay have trained themselves to do their part -- separating the food waste and putting it in a separate kitchen bucket for eventual composting. But now some worry all that effort may be going to waste.

Orinda resident Monica White is with the California Compost Coalition, which examined recent data posted by the Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority. The authority contracts with Arizona-based Republic Services for its green waste services.

"After reviewing public data, the California Compost coalition has found that the vast majority of yard waste collected in Lamorinda, Walnut Creek and Danville is actually not be composted but is being sent to landfill," White said.

According to the waste authority's own report to the state for 2011, of the 40,392 tons of green waste collected in its six-city area, zero was sent for composting. The contract requires 75 percent be composted.

"It's really upsetting to find out that the company you're expecting to do their job, hasn't been," White said.

Paul Morsen is the executive director of the Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority.

"We don't agree with them; we think they are misinterpreting the data that is sent in," he said.

Morsen produced his own internal document that shows 75 percent of the authority's green waste regularly goes to three different composting facilities.

"Each year, when we set garbage rates, we investigate where all the material goes, and our reports indicate they are going to the correct place, in accordance with the contract," he said.

The solid waste authority will vote its next 10 year green waste contract at the end of the month. There are two bidders, including republic services. The total value of the deal is $500 million.

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contra costa county, orinda, walnut creek, danville, east bay news, laura anthony
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