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Greenmeadow to lead city's organic-waste experiment

Original post made on Mar 28, 2013

For residents of Palo Alto's Greenmeadow neighborhood, the routine chore of putting out black trash bins for Wednesday's garbage pickup took on added significance this week.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 3:17 PM

Comments (64)

Posted by Not Greenmeadow, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Mar 28, 2013 at 8:23 am

Once again, Greenmeadow does not speak for this whole region. Their association, along with its 'president' represents only Greenmeadow and its interests, which often do not match the best interests of the rest of us. As with the 'traffic calming' measures that have made the Charleston Arastradero corridor so difficult to navigate, and with their efforts to prevent an aquatic center bring included in the Cubberley plan, lest it compete with their efforts to get support for the new pool they need to build - the activists who live in that part of town have forced their agenda on all of us. Greenmeadow is only there for those who own homes in that community. There are many homes affected by this new experiment that are not in Greenmeadow. Please stop publishing articles that imply otherwise. Please do not encourage the homeowners in one community to foist their agenda on the rest of us. They do enough damage without that.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2013 at 8:30 am

I was under the impression that plastic bags are taboo in Palo Alto. Do I now understand correctly that the city is giving plastic bags to Greenmeadow residents?Shouldn't they be buying reusable bags and laundering them between use?

I wonder how many will end up in the creeks?


Posted by Kip, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 28, 2013 at 9:18 am

The plastic bags given to Greenmeadow residents in their starter kit are compostable. They are to be used to bag the organic waste that will be placed in the green yard waste bins.


Posted by Michele, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 28, 2013 at 10:22 am

As I understand it, this program is a pilot and has been planned by Zero Waste, not by Greenmeadow. If it succeeds, it will likely be implemented in the entire city. Menlo Park, Alameda County, and San Francisco already do this. I don't think this is really a Greenmeadow agenda - it is merely being tried out in this neighborhood. Many residents express different concerns and it all remains to see how it plays out, but it actually doesn't seem that complicated once you get used to it. I think for the most part, we all want to do what we can to help out, no matter what neighborhood we're in.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2013 at 10:32 am

The biggest problem as I see it is that for the household there has to be one person who gets it and oversees all the trash in the house. That means that for every playdate, friend dropping in for coffee, evening gathering, out of towners visit, every single piece of trash produced by every single guest and family member has to be monitored. The simple remedy might be to take the trash and put it beside a can in the local park.

I was visiting out of town family last summer and their rules are so different from ours. All the trash had to line up in the kitchen for the "one who understood the rules" to dispose of. It was embarrassing for me as a guest to know that any trash I had was going to be "examined" by my host.

I can truthfully say I am glad I am not a resident of Greenmeadow and I don't envy them at all.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 28, 2013 at 11:03 am

At what point do the citizens of our fine city actually get to have a say on this? i.e., a vote?

If this is an eventual mandate - I think we should have our say. Majority rules - so whichever way it goes, I'm fine with that. But I have real problem with this "lifestyle" change getting foisted upon us with asking if we're OK with it.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 28, 2013 at 11:04 am

..without asking if we're OK with it.


Posted by jake, a resident of Community Center
on Mar 28, 2013 at 11:07 am

"to simplify waste sorting for residents and to evaluate the potential cost savings"
This has to be joke! [comments was removed by myself]..


Posted by Annette Puskarich, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 28, 2013 at 11:38 am

A pilot program is a great opportunity to see if this is a viable way for PA to collect its food scraps for composting without having another truck roll down the street for a separate collection.

It is not a lifestyle change, the pilot is merely having people put what they discard in a different bin than before. It would be nice side effect though, if people first reduced their waste so there is less to be composted, recycled or landfilled.

If this community is really interested in reducing their waste costs, the key is to put less at the curb overall.


Posted by Not Greenmeadow, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Mar 28, 2013 at 11:42 am

Michelle, I see that you are a resident of Greenmeadow. As I said, I am not. Many of us who have had this foisted on our households are not. The article is about Greenmeadow. Greenmeadow residents asked for this. We did not. Greenmeadow residents often speak as if for all of South Palo Alto, while considering only their own benefit, not ours. The article continues to promote this confusion. Just because they have a clique, er association does not mean they represent all the many people in South Palo Alto who do not live in Greenmeadow. Greenmeadow building a new pool does not benefit anyone who does not live in that neighborhood. Greenmeadow residents wanting to participate in this trial do not speak for all those of us who now have to put up with it. We did not request it, and the above article misrepresents the situation, as have you.


Posted by Michele, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 28, 2013 at 11:51 am

Believe it or not, I did not want to do it either and felt it was forced on me too. But once I got the materials and went to a meeting where Zero Waste presented their case I realized it was not such a big deal. Even though I too have out of town guests etc. I will just have more garbage when they are here. I also feel like it is a test program and the outcome is uncertain. I did not volunteer to be a guinea pig but now I think I can do it ok and it will work out.


Posted by greenmeadow resident, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 28, 2013 at 11:56 am

We didn't choose to do this experiment.
We just said, "O.K. We'll try it." Some of
us don't like the idea at all, but are willing
to see what happens.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 28, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Thank you for NOT selecting Duveneck/St. Francis for this "experiment." I think it is impractical and I oppose implementing this on a citywide scale.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 28, 2013 at 1:28 pm

@Not Greenmeadow -- am not sure why you are so angry, but your blame is misplaced. Greenmeadow did NOT ask for this, although they did indicate willingness to participate in a pilot project to see if it is workable and makes a difference. If was going to be somewhere in Palo Alto, like it or not. You may not recall that info went out to everyone regarding plans to identify a "test" neighborhood. Personally, I would have preferred someone else serve as the guinea pigs, but it's really not that big of a deal.

As for the Charleston slowing project, I don't know anyone in the neighborhood who was happy when this proposed or happy with it now, so again, I believe your are making inaccurate assumptions.

Please check your facts before attacking your neighbors and their intent.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 28, 2013 at 1:28 pm

@Not Greenmeadow -- am not sure why you are so angry, but your blame is misplaced. Greenmeadow did NOT ask for this, although they did indicate willingness to participate in a pilot project to see if it is workable and makes a difference. If was going to be somewhere in Palo Alto, like it or not. You may not recall that info went out to everyone regarding plans to identify a "test" neighborhood. Personally, I would have preferred someone else serve as the guinea pigs, but it's really not that big of a deal.

As for the Charleston slowing project, I don't know anyone in the neighborhood who was happy when this proposed or happy with it now, so again, I believe your are making inaccurate assumptions.

Please check your facts before attacking your neighbors and their intent.


Posted by Not Greenmeadow, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Mar 28, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Michelle, I think you need to check again. I did not say that all Greenmeadow residents asked for it, but yes, it was requested by Greenmeadow residents. A GM resident was also the primary activist behind the Charleston Arastradero debacle, which continues to snarl traffic every day as people try and live their lives. Once again, as I've now said more than once, look at the headline of the article above. I object to my neighborhood being lumped in under the Greenmeadow heading since it is not my neighborhood and because the activists who lobby for these things, such as no pool at Cubberley, the Arastradero debacle, and now, this trash experiment are residents of Greenmeadow. They often use the name of your community when representing their individual wishes and causes, as if all of you had weighed in and are in full agreement with them. This is one of the ways they get things done. If I were you, I'd find out who is representing me in this way and I would put a stop to it. My own way, which I am doing here, is to ask the Palo Alto Weekly editors to stop lumping my neighborhood in with yours.


Posted by Craig Laughton, a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 28, 2013 at 2:12 pm

>A pilot program is a great opportunity to see if this is a viable way for PA to collect its food scraps for composting without having another truck roll down the street for a separate collection.

1. This is NOT a pilot program. It is a wedge, by the 'zero waste' fanatics, to force their political agenda on all the rest of us.

2. It ties into, and is essential to, the anaerobic digestion industrial plant for our Baylands park. A real disaster.

3. If all garbage is placed in ONE container, then sorted by various industrial processes, separating recyclables from non-recyclables, then the remainder thermally destroyed (as a fuel to produce electricity), we will only need one container, and our lives will be much easier. Such an apporach would also be MUCH greener than what is being proposed.

4. Why would Greenmeadow be willing to subject themselves to this nonsense?


Posted by Michele, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 28, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Dear Not Greenmeadow, I am sympathetic. If you had attended the meeting about Zero Waste to educate the Greenmeadow residents last night, you would see that getting the residents of Greenmeadow to agree, like any neighborhood, is like herding cats. It will never happen. As the parent of a recent Gunn grad, I suffered with Charleston/Arastradero for four years. I actually think it is not a solvable problem. Everyone probably did the best they could but with all the schools on that street, and it being a main thruway from 101 to 280, it's doomed. As a longtime resident of Ventura, I have often observed that every other neighborhood in Palo Alto is treated better than Ventura by the City. I guess it's all a matter of degree and where you are at the time.


Posted by ss, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 28, 2013 at 2:51 pm

2 days into the pilot program, there are not that many items going into our compost bin. May be because we don't waste that much food ? Plus, only food and "compostable" materials can go into it. Our trash can & recycle bin keep getting filled as before. Of course, every household is different.

I have nothing against composting, those who have the time for it, good for them. I don't question the intentions behind this program either. But I really wish city would retain the black cart, because all of my trash (recyclable & non-recyclable) now go into the blue cart. Hence the workaround, for me at least, is to request for an additional blue cart.

Quite likely, whoever is rooting for this program, don't have small children in the house.


Posted by Greenmeadow mom, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 28, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Actually, the article is about waste management. Greenmeadow just happens to be one of the neighborhoods that is involved in the pilot. As I understand it, our neighborhood doesn't get to make any decisions for the city. The city will measure results. It's a little inconvenient for me personally to make the transition, but I'm not opposed to trying something new if it might be helpful.


Posted by zero waste prisoner, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 28, 2013 at 3:52 pm

One of the worst things about this new nanny state project is the demeaning, condescending flyer on how to manage my kitchen and food shopping that came with the pilot kit.

My parents lived through the Depression and the conservation efforts in WWII and much of that has passed on to me and to my children, now adults. I don't need goody two shoes lectures on how to shop or store food from people who were not even alive when I was hauling recyclables to the old recycling centers at the baylands and Stanford.

Zero Waste is a oxymoron--how much $ are they wasting in this effort?
Much of this micromanaging of the public's consumption and discards is simply distracting from the more sinister and grand scale abuses to the environment at the hands of giant corporations and the government, namely the US Military. They ignore the biggest polluter of all, the automobile.

As for Greenmeadow, I certainly do not agree with the every agenda item of some of our more visible residents. That would include the Charleston Choke Off and this current garbage boondoggle. And I am appalled if anyone from the neighborhood association opposed a pool at Cubberly, which as far as I know still lies buried under the asphalt of the rear parking lot.


Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Mar 28, 2013 at 4:05 pm

If we want zero waste, we need to ban flush toilets in palo alto. Residents will collect their waste and drop them at the homes of our city' s leading environmentalists. I doubt they will decline the honor of helping achieve our zero waste goal


Posted by Not Greenmeadow, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Mar 28, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Michelle, Thank you for the sympathy. I used to be an associate member of Greenmeadow and on occasion made the mistake of attending some of the meetings that were for Greenmeadow residents, on the mistaken belief that as someone who lived in the area, and who had joined, I would be welcome. I was not. Outsiders, including associate members of Greenmeadow are treated very badly, as you may deduce from the great number of associate members who left over the last two seasons. So I do know first hand that not everybody in the neighborhood agrees. But be assured, I have seen a number of activists who live there stand up and represent Greenmeadow to other groups as if you all spoke with one voice, theirs.


Posted by Not Greenmeadow, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Mar 28, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Zero Waste Prisoner, Thank you for your lively and clear comments. You made me laugh and also made your point very well. I'm afraid I have not yet looked inside the rather creepy box that we found on our doorstep the other day. As I do, I'll keep in mind what you said. I am glad to see that there are residents of GM who do not agree with everything put forth in its name.


Posted by Craig Laughton, a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 28, 2013 at 5:00 pm

> As I understand it, our neighborhood doesn't get to make any decisions for the city

Actually, it does, willing or not. It will be declared a success, even if it isn't. Greenmeadow is a sacrificial lamb for the zero waste zealots. And yes, the entire city will be sacrificed on the alter of zero waste fanatics.

Until the the zero waste zealots are driven out of political power in Palo Alto, we shall all suffer their agenda.


Posted by Nanny city?, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Mar 28, 2013 at 6:11 pm

I live within the garbage collection of Greenmeadow,but not officially in Greenmeadow. I wasn't asked if I want to participate (I don't but have no choice if I want my garbage picked up). I was very happy to bag my trash and deposit it in the black can. When I called Utilities and asked why my bill would not go down because I was getting less service, their comment was that I was getting the service, just differently. They told me about the "compost" bags that would be delivered and after I used this supply, I would have to buy them. This is the ultimate nerve since I'll bet grocery stores will not bag my groceries in "compostable" bags. I'll bet most people don't know this! As an aside, my monthly garbage fee is greater than $40. Yes, I agree with the person resenting the city telling me how to buy my groceries. Oh, the argument about one less vehicle on the streets. Puh-lease: do three trucks in a week make such a difference. Have you seen the traffic on San Antonio lately? It's Los Angelized! I guess I can't expect anything different here in Silicon Valley--very disappointing!


Posted by Not Greenmeadow, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Mar 28, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Dear Nanny City, I am so with you there. Now that plastic bags are being banned, where will we get the plastic bags? And they have to be compostable? Calgon, take me away!


Posted by Nonny Mouse, a resident of Southgate
on Mar 28, 2013 at 9:30 pm

@ Not an issue.......you are really being excessively nasty here. Please soften the vitriol. That was really more gross info than anyone needed.


Posted by PA Resident, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 28, 2013 at 10:07 pm

Crescent Park Dad says: "At what point do the citizens of our fine city actually get to have a say on this? i.e., a vote?" This was an Agenda item which went before Council. PA residents had the opportunity to express their position about the change in garbage collection at that time to City Council.

The people I feel sorry for are the immigrant workers at the SMaRT Station who will have to sort through our recyclables and pull out all the items contaminated with bodily fluids such as sanitary napkins, condoms etc. for ultimate disposal. Frankly, I think this is unhealthy.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 28, 2013 at 10:38 pm

@Not Greenmeadow -- appreciated your comments acknowledging that there are the vocal few who may act as if they represent GM, but, in fact, do not. Seriously, I don't know anyone happy about this new garbage collection process, although some have fewer objections than others.
And PA Resident (Midtown) is correct -- it was an Agenda item and residents were free to object before the vote, at least in theory. My thought was that this was going forward no matter what, so I didn't attend; the only decision was which neighborhood would be in the "pilot".


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2013 at 8:26 am

This doesn't seem all that different than the current trash system but I don't understand why recycling isn't separated out on the non-organic stream. It seems pretty straightforward.


Posted by Not Greenmeadow, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Mar 29, 2013 at 10:20 am

Thank you, neighbor. This thread illustrates a problem that has cropped up a lot. I'm all for activism about important things like human rights, education, war. But when ordinary citizens just trying to live our lives are forced to attend meetings all year round just to try and stop all these things that are endlessly being demanded and lobbied for and promoted by people who have nothing else to do, it works against us. If we have a problem with the changes - say a new hideous library, the awful design of a development that is supposed to feature a viable grocery, the conversion of a road into a bottleneck, an embattled school district - when we object, we are told we should have been at the meetings. Anyone with a life, with responsibilities, with problems, finds it impossible to get to the hundreds of meetings it would take to prevent this stuff from going forward. So you have to pick your battles.


Posted by just ridiculous, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 29, 2013 at 11:32 am

This is just ridiculous. Why don't they discontinue the black cans when they find that they are all empty because no one is using them any more, instead of forcing us into this nonsense. If you don't use your black can, then you should get to save money on your bill and that is your incentive/reward. If I am willing to pay for a black can then I need it. And I already compost my organics for my garden. Why don't they have the businesses on Page Mill do this and see how practical this really is. Leave me alone with this nonsense!


Posted by Fact check., a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 29, 2013 at 11:37 am

Wow. As another resident of Greenmeadow, I stunned and offended by the poisonous vitriol and misinformation in this thread.

I received a survey that said the city was interested in doing a pilot program. I responded as an individual that I would be willing to participate. Evidently, this sets me and my neighbors (most of whom are pretty nice people) up for vicious attacks and accusations that we are trying to force something on others. I just agreed to TRY something that was offered. Period. That's all. Jeesh.

Second, I just checked the Cubberley recommendations. They include absolutely NO comments on whether or not there should be an aquatics center. (I have read them. You can read them on the city web site.) In fact, the Cubberley committee recommended an assessment of community service needs to determine what use would best meet Palo Alto residents' needs. Greenmeadow's representive, along with representatives from other neighborhoods, PTAs and other community groups, voted FOR the assessment.(If the assessment points to a need for aquatics facility, I suppose that would be recommended.)

Can we please keep the discussion factual and polite? We are all neighbors. Most community issues have proponents and opponents. That's just the way things are. Even within Greenmeadow there are folks with differing opinons, as you have seen on this thread.

Greenmeadow is not forcing anyone to participate in this pilot. How COULD they force people to sort trash in the privacy of their homes? (Really, think about it.) The pilot is completely voluntary. Which, I think, is probably the point. It looks to me like the city is trying to figure out whether or not individuals can or will comply with this program.

I'm just a neighbor. I might even be a friend you know through church or soccer league or volunteer work or your office. Please don't publicly attack me for saying "yes" to a simple request. I am a person. Just like you. Just like you, I deserve a little politeness and respect.

Thanks.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2013 at 11:40 am

A couple of questions.

Is this a voluntary participation for the Greenmeadow neighborhood or must they all take part?

Is this something for the members of the Greenmeadow Swimming Pool or for all the people who live in the area?

Reading these comments, there appears to be a great deal of confusion.

What does a swimming pool at Cubberley have to do with trash collection?


Posted by Greenmeadow Resident, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 29, 2013 at 12:21 pm

As a Greenmeadow resident, I resent having to take the extra time to try and figure out what garbage goes where. I pay a lot of money already for my garbage pick-up. Let the employees do the sorting, not the residents. Sorry, but I guess I am not a green resident of Greenmeadow. All of my trash will be going in one bag, as usual, and the recyclables will go, loosely, in the same can - green or blue, I have no idea. Those who wanted to participate should have done so without inconveniencing everyone else.


Posted by trip reduction, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2013 at 12:29 pm

What I don't understand about all this is that, if one of the goals is to reduce garbage truck traffic, then why don't we go to a bi-weekly pick-up system? Seems to work just fine in Mountain View. Even when my household had 4 members we didn't need to put out our garbage every week. (Anyone who thinks they *need* garbage pick-up every week needs to seriously look at why they're producing so much waste). I'm guessing that this is a cost reduction that wouldn't sit well with Greenwaste, who would be losing business, so it's not going to happen. However, why isn't this an option?


Posted by nono, a resident of Community Center
on Mar 29, 2013 at 12:45 pm

The goals of its Zero Waste program is to cut WASTE and not COST. Bi-weekly means cutting both waste and cost which cannot be a solution to the problem.


Posted by happy pilot program participant, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2013 at 12:53 pm

My goodness there are a lot of whiny people here. Can you just stop thinking about yourself for a moment here and look at the big picture? We, as a community, produce too much garbage. Landfill is finite in size. Taking recyclables and compost material out of our garbage helps. Compost in the garbage dump produces methane and we certainly don't need more of that. The city is asking us to make some relatively simple changes to our routines to help mitigate these problems. You tie up your garbage bag and put it in the blue can instead of the black one. What's the big deal?

As members of a civilized society, we need to all participate in the community to make it work. You need to stop at red lights and stop signs. You need to educate your children (and keep yourself up-to-date). You need to get your vaccinations and keep them updated. You need to pay your taxes, etc., etc. And now you need to modify how you dispose of your waste. Nobody is forcing you to put your food scraps in a compostable bag for disposal in your green can, but that little contribution from everyone will be better for the community in the long run.

Please everyone, be responsible citizens.


Posted by happy to clean up after myself, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 29, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Give it a rest. Good grief. It's a pilot. The city is trying a small-scale experiment to figure what what works and doesn't work.

It appears the newspaper is a little confused about neighborhood boundaries. I didn't know Walnut Grove was included. Sounds, from this thread, like they were.

Our local landfill is at capacity and now we are carting trash to other communities. This is an effort to reduce waste. Seems like a responsible thing to do--rather than dump more trash than necessary on others. I'm willing to try it.

It is responsible to clean up after myself. An old-fashioned value, I know. My grandmother (God rest her soul.)taught it to me. I'm willing to try this if it will help.


Posted by Bob , a resident of Community Center
on Mar 29, 2013 at 1:59 pm

ABAG wants to stuff even more people with their garbage into Palo Alto? Where will be get the water to use for so many people here and statewide?
As for being 'green', we were doing just fine until the City hired all these Green managers who have to justify their existence.And yesterday a young man left a notice at our door re: city 'home green inspections'. It is voluntary now, but how long is 'voluntary'? Search my house for waste and 'inefficiency' and the city had better have a search warrant!


Posted by Craig Laughton, a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 29, 2013 at 3:14 pm

>Give it a rest. Good grief. It's a pilot

WRONG! It is fait accompli.

This is a political ploy by the zero waste fanatics. It will be declared a success, no matter what the actual results are. For example, Larry Klein will declare it a success, because in his (bee in his bonnet) uniformed mind, anything that has the theoretical potential to decrease greenhouse gasses will be declared a success. Such is the mindset of true believers. The irony is that the model that is being driven on us is LESS green, than practical alternatives.

This entire organic separation deal will cause a lot of pain and expense. Remember, the same people who support this turkey are the same ones who supported high speed rail...until they reversed themselves. They are not credible.

The rest of us need to express realistic concerns. That is why I am doing it.


Posted by Not Greenmeadow, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Mar 30, 2013 at 12:25 am

Fact Check, I'm afraid you need to check your facts. There are four Greenmeadow residents on the Cubberley committee. According to one of them, they were actively trying to quash the possibility of a pool at Cubberley. I don't have a confirmation that all four were, but that more than one were. Their premise was that south Palo Alto does not need a pool. Since this is not true, one can only surmise that a pool at Cubberley would present competition for the Greenmeadow pool, even though that pool only serves Greenmeadow. Also, this trash thing is not voluntary. It has been foisted on us. Just because you may have said yes to it does not make you the Greenmeadow resident who requested that this take place at Greenmeadow and surrounding neighborhoods. You are entitled to your opinion about what your own household participates in.


Posted by Donald, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 30, 2013 at 11:57 am

Craig said:
' the same people who support this turkey are the same ones who supported high speed rail...'

Who exactly do you mean? Citizens? City Council members? Your statement sounds a bit extreme, and sweeps two groups of people into a single dustbin. While there may be some people in both groups, I seriously doubt that the overlap is 100%.


Posted by Craig Laughton, a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 30, 2013 at 2:01 pm

> Craig said:
' the same people who support this turkey are the same ones who supported high speed rail...'

Who exactly do you mean? Citizens? City Council members?
---

Well, for example, start with Larry Klein. Then look at those zero waste fanatics, and see how they supported HSR. HSR, was very popular at one point, until it was realized that it would affect our entire city, in the negative.

Donald, did you support HSR?

I did not.

Nor do I support this crazy organic waste/anaerobic digestion boondoggle. Do you?


Posted by jan, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 30, 2013 at 6:43 pm

It Really Needs clear statements on All bins.
What can you put in each bin.
Maybe a color, green is compost, then aluminum, then plastics, then glass, then yard-waste,
And also have a list of "NOs." Pictures help too.


Posted by Craig Laughton, a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 30, 2013 at 6:58 pm

>It Really Needs clear statements on All bins.

No need for clear statements on all the bins. Just one bin, collected once per week. The sort should happen at the sorting facility. Under no circumstances should we be supporting the various anaerobic digestion schemes.


Posted by no big deal in Menlo, a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 30, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Menlo Park got curbside compost a year or two ago and it is no big deal. I just put some asparagus ends and egg shells and mango skins in the compost bin, and newspapers and cardboard packaging in the recyclable container. It's not harder than recycling, and results in less waste to the landfill. Personally, I feel better about not adding to the landfill, and it's just not that hard to do.


Posted by Not Greenmeadow Either, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 30, 2013 at 8:59 pm


Boy Greenmeadow has been in the news a lot lately and not in a good way. For a 'wonderful community' they don't seem to get along all that well. Glad I live outside of their walls and that five vocal families don't run my neighborhood. The City got it right when they picked Greenmeadow: 'The city was looking for an area that is sufficiently isolated from other neighborhoods'. Sorry Greendale/Walnut Grove that you were unfortunately lumped in with this group. And hey I would love to see a community pool in South Palo Alto. Our only options are joining high priced community pools (JCC, Eichler, Elks). Hope the Cubberly committee seriously considers this.


Posted by ultimate player, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 30, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Dear Diary,

Night 4 out of 365. So far, it hasn't been as bad as I'd feared. Each night, I've had a completely full 3-gallon bag of compost - banana peels, moldy bagels, uneaten pizza, other scraps of excess food, tissues, paper towels, milk cartons. And I've been much more careful about recycling too. I have the compost bin on top of the trash can - that way, whenever I go to throw something out, I think about whether it's truly trash.

I never really wanted to do this. But the city picked us for the pilot, and I'm giving it a chance. I understand that the city is spending more money to pull trash bags out of the recycling stream, and compost bags out of the clipping stream. If the trash bags break, the recycling stream may be corrupted; if the compost bags break, the clippings may no longer be viable mulch. So, although we're doing more work separating our waste, and spending more money on compostable bags, we're actually causing more work at the other end too.

In the long run, I support the idea of reducing waste, and reusing waste where we can via composting and recycling and using clippings. And we're not going to change unless we try something new. So far, I really haven't reduced my waste at all, but it's more obvious how much food we buy that we don't eat. Maybe we can waste less food, save more money, and use less landfill. It's worth a shot.

We might get new wastebaskets and kitchen trash cans to make it easier to process our wastes. So there might be more costs. And the pilot may fail - if so, the rest of the city will be fortunate to have had us try this out. We might not even be representative of the rest of the city - even if the pilot "succeeds" with us, it might not do as well with the rest of the city. We'll just have to see what happens. Worst case, everyone who doesn't want to truly participate can just throw out everything in trash bags, just like they did before. No one is being forced to do everything that's suggested, just like people weren't forced to recycle anything. People who feel strongly can decide how much effort they want to expend... just like they will if/when the entire city's waste process changes.

Anyway, diary, I will provide an update if things change dramatically...


Posted by GMR, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 30, 2013 at 10:35 pm

One thing to keep in mind is that households in the pilot don't have to change if they don't want to. The only thing you really have to do differently is put your trash bag(s) in the blue (recycling) bin instead of the black (garbage) bin. Maybe some folks will need another recycling bin.

In our house, we've chosen (so far) to try out composting, and more generally it's been interesting to pay a bit more attention to our trash. I do feel badly about littering our earth for future generations, and I like the idea of creating less trash. But I feel like we're in control of how much work we put into this. I expect that's one thing the pilot is trying to sort out. Does this significantly reduce the amount of garbage? Are people okay with the extra sorting? I'm kind of interested to find out.

Peace.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 31, 2013 at 8:31 am

What I'm hearing is:
today 2 cans, one black and one blue.
Tomorrow, with the 'compost' can being all but useless for the miniscule amount of compost trash we have, so we are reduced to ONE can for the same black/blue trash we've always put in two cans. So, half the capacity for same cost. That's a doubling in cost per can.

Voila, City charges the same price for half the service.

AND people will have to order extra cans to get back to the same amount of service, meaning not only are we paying double, but we'll likely have to increase our garbage bills even more to get the same two can capacity.

IN other words RIP OFF, pure and simple.

I will NOT. I will drive my 2nd trash bin's worth of trash to city hall and dump it on their doorstep until they leave us the F alone.


Posted by GMR, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 31, 2013 at 9:20 am

? Just so you know, I got a second can, and it was free. Please, just call GreenWaste and ask for one, if your can is too full.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2013 at 9:45 am

GMR - your second can was free, but will you be charged extra on your bill?

The black cans if I understood correctly were small capacity cans at a reduced rate. If your household needed the full size can or more than one black can, your monthly rate went up. The blue and green cans were never free, but never itemized in the monthly bill. I suggest Greenmeadow residents watch their monthly utility bill very carefully.

For a really successful system, there needs to be a cash incentive to reduce waste. We need to be able to opt out of a weekly service - either by switching to twice a month or by being able to request a vacation hold on pickup.

At present, we are being charged what is really a tax because there is no way to reduce our charge. Once we know how to reduce our monthly charge we can choose exactly what service we want to pay for. This is how we pay for water, gas and electricity so why not trash?


Posted by Parent, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 31, 2013 at 4:08 pm

Resident and GMR - you seriously think they'll charge for the additional cans during the PILOT? PulEEZE! The pilot will be to test the sheeples willingness to go along with the sorting process. Process test. NOT a fee structure test.

All the willing GMRs, eager to save the earth will enthusiastically say 'oh its so easy', and city will happily adopt the new garbage process. - Here's the new process - NO change in your current bill! (benefit right?) And no change in adding extra can (benefit right?)

And lo and behold, when the residents call in to get a can added to get back to original capacity, City will say GLADLY, and here;s the extra cost per additional can, just like we've always done. No change. Extra can? extra $$$.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 1, 2013 at 3:13 pm

I don't understand the reference to an aquatic center at Cubberly. I don't think too many people have heard of that proposal. Even so, no one in their right mind is going to build an aquatic center there --- especially when it is a matter of "when" (not "if") PAUSD will reclaim the school and property.

If anyone is going to build a new pool, it will be PAUSD when they re-open the HS.


Posted by Macbeth, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2013 at 5:22 pm

So it turns out not to be Greenmeadow, but Greendale.

Maybe this should continue on the appropriate page.


Posted by Area Man, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2013 at 5:52 pm

I feel so, so sorry for the poor, put-upon whiners on the thread. You'd think people had been asked to do something difficult, like tie their shoes. Or actually read the article.


Posted by Not Greenmeadow, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Apr 3, 2013 at 6:15 pm

Thank you Parent for pointing out the other problem with this program. It had not occurred to me that they are actually taking away capacity from us without reducing the bill accordingly. Duh. You're right. Also, I have to report that having read the instructions and tried earnestly to follow them, I have made a hash of the whole process. I feel very sorry for who ever has to unpack my refuse on the other end. Fortunately, we compost at home, so they don't have that to deal with as well. Also, we will be calling the trash people up and asking for a reduction in our bill since they have reduced our service so much. I'll post here how that turns out.


Posted by Not Greenmeadow, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Apr 4, 2013 at 10:49 am

Crescent Park Dad, An aquatic center is a key component of the athletic facilities at a good high school. As you might know, both Paly and Gunn have relatively new pools which offer students the opportunity to include aquatics as part of their physical education program, as well as the chance to participate in the school's swim team, diving, and water polo programs. Both also provide water for area aquatic events when possible, such as club water polo tournaments, summer swim lessons, and so forth. These extra programs help defray the cost of running a pool for the students. When Greenmeadow residents participated in the Cubberley planning committee, some of them were actively working to prevent a pool from being included in the plan for a future high school there. This is because they consider a pool at Cubberley to be unnecessary since Greenmeadow has a pool. But this pool, as I mentioned, only serves residents of Greenmeadow, as well as those who join as associate members, however limited their participation is allowed to be - but not anyone else in the area. Residents of South Palo Alto do need a pool at Cubberley, as they need a full service high school. I can't imagine you have never heard of a high school campus that includes a swimming pool. Why would you post such a comment?


Posted by Greendeller, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Apr 11, 2013 at 2:29 pm

I told the city that the idea of trying to squeeze our trash into the recycling bin was nuts--that our recycling bin is always overfull at the least as it is. They offered me a second recycling bin. That's the good part.

They are not reducing their fees despite giving only half the truck stops (was this a way to get back at the union they were arguing with?) and at the same time requiring that we pay extra for the right compostable bags after the initial small box of them.

What they never answered was what are they going to do when the trash bags break as the trucks dump them into their mixed loads and things like colostomy bags end up all over the recycling? Wouldn't that be a fun sorting job. And when are they going to start charging us far more because we have a second blue bin--you know they will. The commenter who said this is a wedge, not a pilot, had it absolutely right.

Note that the city was saying on its site a few months ago that it had not yet picked out a neighborhood to do the pilot and that there would be hearings about where to start it, while at the same time they had already sent out notices to all of us that we were it. They lied. Pure and simple. This does not give me confidence in anything else they say about it and it does make me far less supportive of it.



Posted by CrunchyCookie, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 13, 2013 at 10:08 pm

CrunchyCookie is a registered user.

Agree with Greendeller above, and most of the other lukewarm responses posted. Two weeks into this program's implementation, does anyone really like it?

Aside from the annoyance of having a third bin in the house to deal with (a tiny, down-on-the-floor bin that entails buying yet more bags), it seems unnatural to throw garbage and recycling in the same place. It's also limiting, since you can no longer throw trash directly into an outside bin, and with its capacity now effectively halved, overflow will be a problem for larger households. Then there's the part about the service companies sharing none of the cost savings with us.

To add convenience while maintaining proper separation, can we at least switch to 2-in-1 combo bins like Mountain View (among other places)? One bin that's a tad larger than the blue one, with the front half trash and the back half recycling. Or a 40/40/20 split with the small part dedicated to composting. Or something.


Posted by Greendeller, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Apr 13, 2013 at 11:09 pm

One other comment. They gave us a small composting bin to keep in our kitchens (oh joy). Did they ever actually look at the thing before foisting it on us? Did they not notice that you cannot keep the lid open while, say, peeling mangoes into it, because that lid won't stay open unless you break it? As it is, it doesn't even want to open all the way--it's a three or even four handed operation to use the thing while working in the kitchen. The thing is garbage.




Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Would any Greenmeadow resident care to update the rest of us how this is going now that this is half way through the year long experiment.

Thanks.


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