While council members had questions about whether the new contract would help the city towards its goal of increasing recycling to get closer to zero waste, one thing was clear: "We'll get more for less dollars," said council member Jac Siegel. "I'm very happy with that."
City officials say major new efforts towards the zero waste goal may come when the Recology contract expires in 2021, the same time as the city's contract for its landfills and garbage sorting services at Sunnyvale's SMART station.
"This gets us to 2021, in case we want to make massive changes at that point," said council member Laura Macias.
Future changes could include simpler recycling bins, or the use of an anaerobic digester which converts organic waste into gas and electricity. Until that can happen, the new contract adds recycling and food scrap services for commercial users. Residents will see additional collection of yard waste in the fall along with a new curbside pickup of household batteries, engine oil and filters, cooking oil, compact fluorescent bulbs and cell phones, among other upgrades.
The Mountain View Recycling Center at 935 Terra Bella Avenue will expand its list of items that can be recycled and will be open longer, staying open two hours later every weekday and opening on Mondays.
The contract also calls for a transition to new garbage trucks powered by compressed natural gas, which will make up half the fleet by 2015, replacing bio-diesel powered trucks.
Rate increases are expected next year of up to 2.5 percent for the carts used by most residents and 16 to 22 percent for those who use large bins and compactors. Recology's employees will see a pay raise of 9.45 percent in the first year and 1.1 percent in the following year.
The new contract goes into effect in July, 2013. For details, see recologymountainview.com or mountainview.gov and look for council agendas and reports for Sept. 18, 2012.