Dear Santa Rosa City Council,

Please consider slowing the waste contracting process down, do an inventory of all local discard related activites and then hold a series of town hall meetings where all voices are welcome.

Diversion First:  The 2007 Sonoma County Waste Characterization Study reports that 70% of what was still being discarded is Compostable (32%), Divertible (25.4%) or Potentially Divertible (12.3%). This suggests that 90% diversion is within our reach and the long haul impacts of the remainder and other landfill issues should be looked at through a different lens. Also, since degrading organics are a large source of methane, a very potent climate damaging gas, organics may be banned from landfills in the not too far future. Let’s be a leader in organics diversion!

Become A Zero Waste City: In the Bay Area we have many good examples of cities and counties working toward zero waste. San Francisco is currently diverting more then 72%, and has a goal to reach zero by 2020. Marin County, Santa Clara County and the cities of Oakland, San Jose, Palo Alto, Berkeley and Emeryville have also adopted ambitious zero waste goals.

Collaboration instead of Competition: Santa Rosa has a wonderful opportunity to emulate these examples – especially San Francisco and Oakland, both of which are reworking their waste contracting system so that it rewards generators and haulers for maximizing diversion, lowering generation rates and still keeping service level quality high and comprehensive. The keys to the success of these popular programs are innovative public private partnerships, a collaborative process which respects the voice of all stakeholders – large and small, and good public education.

Please integrate Zero Waste into your trash future and you don’t lock yourself into old style contract language that rewards landfilling of materials that could be recycled or composted