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February 11, 2014 > $70 million buried by Alameda County

$70 million buried by Alameda County

Submitted By Jeff Becerra

Most of us say that recycling is important, but are we good at it? StopWaste spent the past year taking a look at garbage carts to find out. A report being mailed this week shows that residents and businesses in Alameda County dumped as much as $70 million of recyclable and compostable items in the garbage last year. The report is part of a new Benchmark Service from StopWaste, a public agency responsible for reducing waste in Alameda County.

ÒLetÕs face it, weÕre still burying too many valuable resources in landfills,Ó said Gary Wolff, P.E., Ph.D., StopWaste Executive Director. ÒMore recycling would capture valuable resources already in our communities, stimulating the local economy and creating jobs.Ó Our goal for Alameda County is that by 2020, less than 10 percent of whatÕs in garbage containers will be recyclable or compostable.

The Benchmark Service tracks progress towards that goal, and has three components:

Random, anonymous measurements of how much garbage, recyclable and compostable material is in garbage containers in Alameda County

Analysis of those measurements

Reports sent directly to garbage service account holders describing what was found.

The first reports are now being sent to Alameda County residents and businesses. The data in the reports show how much garbage, recyclable and compostable material (as a percentage by weight) was in residential garbage containers, and some categories of business garbage containers, in 2013. On average, residential garbage carts in Alameda County contain 32 percent Ògood stuffÓ (recyclable and compostable material) by weight, an improvement from 60 percent in 2008. School garbage containers contain about 55 percent Ògood stuff.Ó

Consistent with the data collected in 2008, the biggest potential for improvement is with organics recycling. ÒIf we could make just one change, it would be to recycle all our food scraps in the green bin, all the time,Ó said Alameda County Waste Management Authority (dba StopWaste) Board President Don Biddle. ÒThis would reduce greenhouse gases and help create compost thatÕs used to grow food and beautify urban landscapes.Ó For tips on how to recycle better, residents and businesses can visit

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