The City of Oakland has a contract for their waste removal and recycling that is being passed along to consumers at a far higher rate than other Bay Area cities. As the Chronicle reports, bills for monthly composting have recently shot up, and that's greatly affecting restaurants who both produce a lot of compostable waste, and are required to compost that waste. In the case of Maria Alderete, co-owner of Luka’s Taproom, her bill just went from $900 to almost $1,600 a month for compost alone (that's $19K a year), leading her to write to the city council and say she'll be getting the smallest compost bin possible and throwing the majority of the waste into the trash from now on, because trash collection is much cheaper.

In San Francisco, composting fees are far lower, because Recology provides credits for "diversion" of recycling and compost out of landfills. The Chron talks to one business owner, Chris Hillyard, who operates coffee shops in Oakland, SF, and Emeryville, and he says he only pays $77 a month in SF, $0 in Emeryville, and $500 a month in Oakland, just for composting services.

The price hike — up from an already exorbitant rate — comes as a result of a contract with garbage titans Waste Management, and the rising cost of union labor. Also, the city has required the company to use emission-reducing vehicles, and it's clear that the composting requirement is being treated as something above-and-beyond normal service. You'll see that the compost service, listed on WM's site as "Organics," is buried among their other "green" services. And they claim that they are "working with customers in the food industry to develop innovative programs that are cost-effective." Obviously that's not the case in Oakland so far.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf says she'll be working with Waste Management to come up with "a thoughtful resolution."