Last week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors were asked to vote on lifting a Depression-era ban on allowing competitive bidding on the city's trash business, but they've put the decision on hold.
Currently, Recology collects the city's trash and ships it to landfills owned by competitors. About 400 to 500 million tons per year of San Francisco's trash is hauled by truck to Waste Management's landfill on the Altamont Pass in Alameda County, but the current contract is up in 2015.
The Department of Environment is backing Recology's new 10-year, $112 million contract that would enable Recology to gather San Francisco's garbage and haul it by truck and rail to its own landfill in Yuba County. This plan reportedly offers the cheapest and greenest solution, but residents of Yuba County, one of the poorest counties in the state, are understandably worried about polluting water and air near verdant farmland.
Mercury News reported on a new development yesterday in which the city is considering a partnership with the city of Pittsburg that would bring S.F.'s garbage by barge and truck to Pittsburg's "underutilized" Keller Canyon Landfill. The landfill is located at the city's industrial wharf that's already used to serve plants operated by Dow Chemical, Tesoro, and USS-POSCO. Shipping the trash by barge would create revenue and jobs in both cities' underutilized ports.