EL CERRITO -- A new agreement for disposal for post-collection processing and disposal of waste approved Sept. 17 by the City Council will reduce post-collection costs by about 10 percent and could divert more than 10 percent of the city's solid waste away from landfills.
Post-collection processing, one component of customers' garbage bills, involves disposal of garbage and processing of compost after it is delivered via curbside pickup to a garbage transfer station or a composting facility.
The new contract is with Republic Services, Inc., El Cerrito's current contractor, which operates several subsidiaries that receive and process waste and recycling, including West County Resource Recovery, West Contra Costa Sanitary Landfill, Golden Bear Transfer Services and Keller Canyon Landfill Co.
The 12-year contract goes into effect Jan. 1 and calls for a disposal rate of $90.30 per ton in 2014, about 10 percent less than El Cerrito customers are paying now.
Environmental Services Division Manager Garth Schultz attributed the savings in part to greater competition between waste disposal providers. Republic was one of six providers to bid on the contract.
About 7,260 tons of El Cerrito waste went to landfills in 2012, about 800 tons more than will go to landfills in 2014, according to city estimates.
The reduction will contribute to the city's climate action plan goal of reducing disposal of waste in landfills to 4,000 tons per year by 2020 and 2,000 tons per year by 2035.
Schultz pointed out other benefits in the contract, including a higher diversion rate for waste from construction projects and a better cooperative arrangement with Republic to increase diversion rates of waste from public school campuses in El Cerrito.
The city's contract for curbside pickup of garbage and green waste is with El Cerrito-based East Bay Sanitary Co., which delivers the waste it collects to Republic's transfer station and composting facility.
The council also completed another environmental initiative by giving final approval to a single-use bag ordinance and an ordinance banning polystyrene food containers.
The bag ordinance prohibits city retail stores from providing customers with free single-use bags at checkout, while the food container ordinance prohibits restaurants from using containers made from polystyrene for takeout food in favor of containers that can be composted, reused or recycled.
Both ordinances go into effect Jan. 1, with full enforcement beginning July 1.
In addition, the council gave the go-ahead to the fire department to use nearly $1 million from a federal grant and matching funds from El Cerrito and Kensington to purchase a new 103-foot aerial ladder truck to replace the current truck, which is nearing the end of its useful life.
The fire department was awarded the $856,406 federal grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on its third application seeking the funds, according to Fire Chief Lance Maples.
The new truck will enable the city to maintain its current fire protection rating from insurance carriers, potentially saving homeowners money on their premiums, Maples said.
The council also agreed to create four-way stops at the intersections of Barrett Avenue and Arlington Boulevard, Stockton Avenue and Ashbury Avenue, and Central Avenue and Ashbury Avenue.
The changes came after analyses of auto, bicycle and pedestrian traffic at the intersections.
In addition, the city will install a stop sign on Curry Avenue at Pomona Avenue and place 40 feet of green curb marking in front of 10422 San Pablo Ave.
The green-painted curb will reduce short-term parking limits from one hour to 15 minutes between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., except for Sundays and holidays, to increase turnover of spaces in front of businesses.