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New Garbage & Recycling Contract - October 1, 2019 
Questions and Answers


garbage truck

Starting October 1, 2019,   Alameda County Industries (ACI) will be the new solid waste, recycling and organics collection and processing company for the City of San Ramon.  All current services will continue with some new additions.  Answers to related questions are included below.  For questions regarding how ACI was selected and why garbage  rates are increasing in 2020, please e-mail SRSolidWaste@sanramon.ca.gov

For questions regarding ACI's services and cart exchanges, please contact ACI at (925) 380-9480 or info@AlamedaCountyIndustries.com . Additional information can be found at www.sanramonrecycles.com

 During the month of September, all Waste Management carts will be replaced with new carts provided by ACI.   Your carts will be exchanged on one of your regular garbage collection days in September.   Please visit this link to look up your exact cart exchange day.  The database is divided into streets A-M and streets N-Z.   Sometimes the search bar takes a minute to appear.  Once it does, enter your address to find your cart exchange day.   

Please set out all of your old carts on your cart exchange day, regardless if they are empty or full.  Waste Management will empty the carts, then crews will come by to deliver your new carts and pick up your old ones.

The intent is to deliver the new carts and remove the old ones on the same day.  However, removals have been running behind schedule.  Please leave your old carts out at the curb until they are removed.  During the cart exchange period the City will not be enforcing the requirement that carts cannot be stored at the curb.  Cart removal crews will be making continuous passes until all of the old carts are removed. They are also working on Saturdays.   We thank you for your patience.

You can begin using your new carts immediately.  Waste Management will empty your new ACI carts until ACI begins providing services on October 1st. 

ACI will deliver the same number and sizes of carts that you have now, based on the data that they received from Waste Management.   If you currently have two organics carts or two recycling carts, you should  automatically receive the same.  All residents can  receive up to two 96-gallon organics carts and two 96-gallon recycling carts at no additional charge.  If you receive the same number and size of carts that you have now, but want to change your service (e.g. decrease the size of your garbage cart, add a second organics cart, etc.) please wait until after October 1st to contact ACI and make the change.  By October 1 they will have completed all of the initial cart exchanges and will be able to go back and make the requested changes.

Your garbage bill is based upon the size of your garbage cart alone.  The recycling and organics carts are provided at no additional charge.

The City and ACI are aware that some of the lids on the new blue recycling carts have the wrong label.  ACI will be replacing the mislabeled lids as soon as possible.  The label isn't a sticker, it is molded into the lid, so the whole lid will have to be replaced.  You will receive a mailer with further information as to how and when your lid will be replaced.  Until then, please place your recyclables in your new blue cart and your garbage in your new gray cart.   Instructions as to what goes into each cart can be found in the brochure that was delivered in your food scrap kitchen pail, and on ACI's website.

All residents will receive a new food scrap recycling pail.  Tips on how to recycle food scraps can be found here.   If you do not currently have an organics cart, you will receive a small, 20-gallon one.  This is a new service for most condos and townhomes n San Ramon.  California law will require the City to provide organics collection services to all residents and businesses.   More information on the small green cart program can be found here.

1. Why did the City request proposals for a new contract?

The current contract with Waste Management has been in effect since October 1, 2006.  The contract was extended in both 2013 and 2016 and will expire on September 30, 2019.  In order to get competitive proposals for the next Solid Waste & Recycling contract, the City Council directed staff to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP).

2. What process did the City use to get the best proposal?

The City retained HF&H Consultants to assist with the solid waste RFP process.  HF&H Consultants are experts in the solid waste and recycling industry.  Since 1989, HF&H Consultants has assisted more than 180 jurisdictions in procuring recycling and solid waste related services, evaluating proposals to provide service, and negotiating and drafting new or revised solid waste and recycling contracts.  HF&H Consultants requires proposers to submit detailed cost proposals and has an extensive database of proposals from other solid waste RFP processes. This allowed the City to evaluate the reasonableness of the proposals we received. City staff worked with HF&H Consultants to write the new contract and the RFP, evaluate the proposals received, and negotiate the final contract.  

The City received competitive proposals from four different solid waste and recycling companies for the contract.  The City Council unanimously selected ACI at the November 13, 2018 City Council Meeting.

3. Who is ACI?

ACI has been providing garbage, recycling, and organics collection services since 1997.  ACI currently provides collection services for the cities of San Leandro and Alameda, and will begin providing service to the Castro Valley Sanitary District May 1, 2019.

ACI is a locally-owned private company.  ACI shares common ownership with other Tri-Valley solid waste and recycling companies, including Pleasanton Garbage Service, Amador Valley Industries (in Dublin) and Livermore Sanitation.

ACI will provide service to the City of San Ramon from their administrative offices, truck yard, recycling and transfer facility, and call center located in San Leandro.

ACI’s website is www.alamedacountyindustries.com.  Note that the services/programs that ACI provides vary between their different service areas. See answers to the other questions below for a description of the City of San Ramon’s new service/collection program with ACI.

4. When will ACI begin providing service?

ACI will provide service starting October 1, 2019.  You can contact Waste Management for any service related issues prior to October 1, 2019 and if you have questions about the new services or ACI please contact the City of San Ramon at SRSolidWaste@sanramon.ca.gov.

5. How long is ACI’s new San Ramon contract?

The initial term of ACI’s contract is 15 years.  Solid waste and recycling contacts are typically 10 to 15 years long in order fully amortize the cost of trucks, containers, and equipment.  ACI proposed lower garbage rates for a 15-year contract than for a 10-year contract.

6. Will my service/collection day change?

ACI plans on maintaining existing service schedules for residential customers. Service schedule changes are highly unlikely, but if there are any, customers will be notified prior to October 1, 2019.

7. What will happen to Waste Management’s San Ramon drivers?

The Waste Management collection drivers will have the option to continue working in San Ramon for ACI.  ACI is required by their contract with the City to offer employment to the Waste Management drivers.

8. Will my garbage service change?

There will be very few service changes. All of the current solid waste, recycling and organics services will continue. 

There will be increased opportunities to recycle organics.  All townhomes, condos, apartments, and businesses will receive organics collection services as per California state law.  “Organics” includes food scraps, yard trimmings, plants, clean wood, and soiled paper products such as paper towels, paper napkins, paper plates, paper cups, pizza boxes, paper take-out containers, etc.  Collected organics will be composted.   

The single-family homes and businesses that already have organics collection services in place will continue to have these services under the new contract.  ACI will provide each single-family residence and multi-family residential unit with a kitchen food scraps pail.  Residents can use these pails to collect food scraps in the kitchen and transport the material to their green organics containers.

All customers will receive new solid waste, recycling, and organics containers.  The new containers will be in the State-mandated color scheme of: Green = Compost/Organics, Blue = Recycle, Grey = Landfill/Garbage.  The new containers will have labels with graphics showing what can and cannot go into each type of container.  

9. Will I get new carts?
Yes. The current collection carts belong to Waste Management and must be returned.  ACI will provide all new collection carts.  

ACI plans to exchange the residential carts over a 2-3 week period ending on September 30th, 2019.  Residents will have their old carts removed and new carts delivered on the same day.  This will occur on your regular collection day.  Cart distribution vehicles will follow the Waste Management collection vehicles, remove the empty Waste Management carts and leave the new ACI carts in their place.  You will receive a door hanger notice in July and another door hanger in August with instructions letting you know how and when your cart exchange will happen.  Please set out all of your Waste Management carts on the designated exchange day, even if they are empty.  All Waste Management carts must be left out on the designated exchange day until the switch has been made. 

ACI will deliver the same number and size of carts that you have now, as was reported to them by Waste Management.  After October 1 you may contact ACI to change the number and size of carts if desired.  All three types of carts (Garbage, Recycle, Organics) come in four sizes.  You may receive up to two recycle carts and up to two organics carts at no additional charge.

The new carts will be stamped with a City of San Ramon logo and will become the property of the City at the end of ACI’s contract.  This means that if San Ramon decides to switch garbage companies again, the carts wouldn’t have to be replaced again.

The new containers will be in the State-mandated color scheme of: Green = Compost/Organics, Blue = Recycle, Grey = Landfill/Garbage.  The new containers will have labels with graphics showing what can and cannot go into each type of container, which is also a new State requirement.  

Waste Management will re-use and recycle the old carts to the extent feasible.  The new carts will be partially made out of recycled plastic.

10. Do I have to have an organics container?

Yes.  State law requires the City to provide organics recycling services to all customers.  This will be a new service for most condos, townhomes, apartments and businesses.  Even if you do not have a yard, you will need an organics container to recycle your food scraps, clean wood, and soiled paper products (paper plates, paper napkins, pizza boxes, paper cups, etc.). Organic waste accounts for more than a third of the material in California’s waste stream. Diverting this material from landfills decreases Greenhouse gas emissions caused by organic material decomposition.

ACI will have different sizes of organics containers available to meet the needs of different customers.  In some instances customers can share organics containers.  

There will be two sets of residential garbage rates depending upon the amount of organics service you need:

a. Standard Single-Family Rate:  For residents in single-family homes who need more than 35 gallons-per week of organics service.  Residents paying this rate  can receive up to two green organics carts at no additional charge.  Most  residents paying the standard single-family garbage rate currently have one 64-gallon organics cart.  The majority of residences with yards will need at least 64-gallons per week of organics service.  
  
b. Small Green Cart Rate:  Residents who only need 35-gallons per week of organics service or less can choose either one 20-gallon organics cart or one 35-gallon organics cart.  Most residences without yards should be able to use this service. That includes most townhomes and condos who do not currently have organics service. The Small Green Cart Rate is lower than the Standard Single-Family Rate.

All residents may be able to minimize their garbage bills by recycling all of their organics (including food scraps and food-soiled paper products) and subscribing to a smaller garbage cart.
11. How much organics service does my business or apartment complex need?

Representatives from ACI will meet with each multi-family dwelling complex and commercial property before October 1, 2019 to assist them in determining the appropriate levels of organics, recycling, and solid waste services for their property.  ACI will also help property managers educate their employees and tenants on how to recycle. 

ACI and the City will meet with Home Owner’s Associations or with other community or neighborhood groups upon request.  If you would like to schedule a meeting between the City, ACI, and your business, multi-family dwelling complex, or Home Owners Association, please e-mail SRSolidWaste@sanramon.ca.gov.

12. Are we still going to have Neighborhood Clean-Up Days?
Yes.  The City Council made it a priority that the neighborhood clean-up days would continue in the new contract. Each single-family home, townhome and condo with individual cart garbage service will continue to receive three scheduled Neighborhood Clean-Up Days per year.  Please see: https://www.sanramonrecycles.com/cleanup/

There will be two additions to the Neighborhood Clean-Up Day program:

a. Larger Items:  On Clean-Up Day, each residence will be allowed to set out up to two large, bulky items such appliances, furniture, and mattresses that weigh up to 200 pounds each.  This is in addition to the three cubic yards of smaller items (up to 60 pounds each) that are currently accepted. 

b. Re-Use Program:  ACI will collect Clean-Up Day items that can be used again (such as clothing, sports equipment, games, videos, books, and toys) separately  from other items.
13. Are there any new services included in ACI’s contract?

Yes.  In addition to the new collection containers and kitchen food scrap pails mentioned in Question #8, and the additions to the Neighborhood Clean-Up Program described in Question #12, new or enhanced services include:

a. Unlimited Recycling:  Residents with individual cart service will be able to set out extra recyclables that don’t fit in their recycling cart next to their cart on collection day.  Extra recyclables should be contained in paper bags or cardboard boxes.  Empty cardboard boxes must be flattened, cut down to pieces no larger than 2 feet by 3 feet and stacked next to your recycling cart. Residents may also request larger recycling carts (up to 96 gallons) at no additional charge.  Multi-family complexes with shared/consolidated service will also receive unlimited recycling service at no additional charge. Recyclables at multi-family complexes will be collected in large, shared recycling bins provided by ACI.

b. Kraft Paper Bags for Extra Yard Trimmings:  Residents will be able to purchase large Kraft paper bags to set out extra yard trimmings next to their green organics cart on collection day.  Residents paying the Standard Single-Family Rate may also request larger or additional organics carts (up to two 96-gallon organics carts per home) at no additional charge.

c. Annual Recycling Drop-Off Event:  An annual two-day weekend recycling event in a public location during which residents can drop off recyclables, organics, electronics, fluorescent bulbs, household batteries, clothing, re-usable items, and confidential documents (for shredding) at no charge will be provided.  Dates, times, and locations will be announced.

d. Compost Give-Away Events:  ACI will distribute 1,000 1-cubic-foot bags of compost to San Ramon residents at two events per year (500 bags per event). Dates, times, and locations will be announced. 

e. Curbside Cooking Oil Collection:  Upon request ACI will provide residents with jugs to recycle used cooking oil at the curb on collection day.  This is in addition to the existing curbside recycling program for used motor oil and used motor oil filters. Motor oil and cooking oil cannot be mixed in the same jug and must remain separate. 

f. In-Home Recycling Tote Bags for Multi-Family Dwellings:  ACI will distribute new tote bags to each Multi-Family Dwelling unit in San Ramon prior to October 1, 2019.  Residents can use these tote bags to store their recyclable materials in their homes and transport it to the shared recycling bins in their enclosures.  Each Multi-Family Dwelling unit will also receive a kitchen food scrap pail as mentioned above.

g. Free Bin Push/Pull Up to 25 Feet for Multi-Family and Commercial Customers:  The current contract contains an extra charge for Waste Management to push/pull multi-family and commercial bins in and out of dumpster enclosures for service.  In the new contract with ACI, the bin push/pull charge up to 25 feet from the enclosure is included. Push/pull distances of more than 25 feet will incur a charge. Distance must be verified by ACI personnel.

ALL NEW PROGRAMS WILL BEGIN OCTOBER 1, 2019

14. Will ACI pick up household hazardous waste and electronics?
Existing household hazardous waste and electronics programs, such as curbside motor oil collection, will continue.  See www.sanramon.ca.gov/HHW for existing programs.  In addition, ACI will accept electronics on neighborhood clean-up days and at the annual recycling drop-off event mentioned above.  Previously San Ramon had a contract with a subsidiary of Waste Management (separate from the garbage contract) to provide on-call, doorstep collection of household hazardous waste and electronics from San Ramon residents.  Waste Management discontinued that program at the end of 2018.  ACI does not offer a household hazardous waste collection service at this time.  The City is planning to replace that program with a similar collection program or an annual household hazardous waste drop-off event.  We will provide residents with more information once the replacement program has been selected.   
15. Will my garbage rate change?

Garbage rates will not change until January 1, 2020.  They will not change when ACI begins service on October 1, 2019.  ACI will charge the 2019 garbage rates for October through December 2019.

For most customers, garbage rates will increase on January 1, 2020.   The amount of the increase will vary depending upon the amount of garbage service you subscribe to.  

The 2019 and 2020 garbage rates for single-family residential customers are shown in the chart below:

Rates

Most single-family customers currently subscribe to the 35-gallon garbage cart service.  Residents are billed quarterly for three months of service.

Rates are based on the size of your garbage cart. If you are able to recycle more you may be able to reduce your garbage service and avoid a significant rate increase in 2020.  Note that rate for 20-gallon-per-week garbage service in 2020 is $33.65 per month and the current rate for 35-gallon-per-week garbage service is $32.20 per month.

Garbage rates will be adjusted annually each January 1 thereafter, based upon rate setting methodologies included in the contract.  For most customers, the rate increase from 2019 to 2020 will be larger than any other potential rate increase during the term of the contract.  The 2020 rate increase represents a one-time adjustment for the new contract and any annual rate increases after 2020 are anticipated to be much smaller.

If you currently have paperless billing with Waste Management, that will continue automatically with ACI.  However, if you currently have autopay with Waste Management, that will not automatically continue.  Please go to the ACI website  www.sanramonrecycles.com - or call ACI at 925-380-9480 - if you want to sign up for autopay with ACI.

If you live in a condo, townhome, or apartment, your rates may be different than those shown in the chart above. Below are links to the complete sets of rates for 2019 and 2020.  This includes the Small Green Cart Rate, commercial, multi-family, compactor, and roll-off box rates.

>>Click here to view 2019 Rates<<

>>Click here to view 2020 Rates<<

When comparing 2019 rates to 2020 rates, commercial and multi-family customers should consider that starting in 2020 there is no longer a separate charge for the hauler to push/pull bins in and out of dumpster enclosures, up to 25 feet in one direction.




16. Why did garbage rates go up with the new contract?

All four cost proposals that the City received for garbage and recycling services were significantly higher than current garbage rates.  The current (2019) rates are based on an earlier RFP process that took place in 2006, and the market has changed dramatically since then. Factors that contributed to the rate increase include:

a. Increased Labor Costs.  Actual driver labor costs increased faster than garbage rates over the term of the current franchise agreement, so the garbage rates were due for a “market correction” at the end of the contract so that garbage rates could reflect the change in labor costs. 

b. Restricted Contamination Levels for Exported Recyclables/Historically Low Recyclables Commodity Revenues.  China’s new restrictions on recyclables imports has increased processing costs and diminished the worldwide market for recyclable materials/commodities.

c. State Regulations. New State regulations (SB 1383) require increased organics recycling, color-coded containers, and new container labels.

17. How can I minimize my garbage bill?

Most customers can minimize their garbage bills by decreasing the amount of garbage service they subscribe to. By recycling more, many customers should be able to decrease the size of their garbage containers and/or the frequency of garbage collection and reduce their overall bill.  

Studies have shown that only about half of San Ramon residents are currently recycling their food scraps and food soiled paper (paper plates, paper napkins, paper cups, pizza boxes, etc.) and that local landfills are still receiving significant quantities of those materials.  Therefore, many San Ramon customers may be able to reduce their garbage service and lower their bills by recycling their food scraps and soiled paper products.

18. What was the solid waste RFP process? How were residents and businesses involved?

The table below outlines the solid waste RFP process, including City efforts to obtain input from residential and commercial customers and to provide public information.  Note that all Finance Committee and City Council meetings, and the City Council Workshop were noticed, public meetings.

Milestone

19. Can I get a copy of the City’s contract with ACI?

The contract (Franchise Agreement) between ACI and the City of San Ramon can be viewed Here