Refuse If You Will: Garbage Collection Rates May Increase

San Francisco Public Works director Mohammed Nuru is proposing to raise the rates for residential refuse collection and disposal in San Francisco by an average increase of 14.42 percent.

Effective July 1st, rates would go up by $4.85. For those living in single-family homes with three 32-gallon bins for trash, composting and recycling, their bill would come to $40.04 a month.

As is already the case, monthly costs will vary based on properties, units per property, bin size and number of bins.

The recommended increase doesn’t apply to commercial rates, which aren’t regulated by the city.

Photo: Frank Deandro/Flickr

Garbage collection rates were last adjusted in 2013, and the proposed increase reflects Recology’s increasing cost of doing business and new programs to help San Francisco hit its goal of zero waste.

“The recommended residential rate increase will help pay for the programs and technologies to help us keep more of the materials out of the landfill,” Nuru said in a statement.

Other factors leading up to the rate raise include: a costlier landfill agreement, higher composting costs due to regulatory changes and the public’s increasing use of existing programs, such as the household hazardous waste program and the bulky item recycling program.

Recology also needs to reconfigure its truck fleet and expand its routes to handle the increase in recyclable and compostable materials across San Francisco.

Initially, Recology requested that Public Works increase its rates for residential customers over the next four years beginning with a 16.4 percent increase in first year; however, Nuru made the recommendation of 14.42 percent instead.

If approved, residents will see a 5.46 percent increase next July, a 0.55 percent bump the following year, and a 0.79 percent nudge in the fourth and final year of the proposed rate increases.

Photo: SF Public Works

Both Recology’s proposal and the director’s recommendation would allow additional cost-of-living adjustments, and Public Works’ staff, members of the Department of Environment and the City Attorney’s Office reportedly made sure that the rate increase is “just and reasonable.”

Public Works said that  a portion of the new revenue would be used to steam-clean curbside garbage cans on a more regular basis. Recology would also make it more convenient for people to get rid of unwanted bulky items—such as furniture, mattresses and appliances—so they’re not left illegally on neighborhood sidewalks.

Feedback from community meetings, technical workshops and public comments over the past seven months reportedly went into Nuru’s rate hike recommendation, but that doesn’t mean it’s final—yet.

The rate increase recommendation can be appealed to the Refuse Rate Board (made up of the City Administrator, the City Controller, and the general manager of the SF Public Utilities Commission). If that happens, a new notice of a proposed rate increase would be issued and public hearings would be held. The deadline to appeal is May 30th, 5pm.

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Refuse if you will garbage collection rates may increase