Proposed 2021-2025 garbage rates

The City of Menlo Park proposes increasing solid waste service (garbage, recycling and organics) rates for customers between the years 2021 and 2025.

The City Council will consider adopting rate increases December 8, 2020, at 5 p.m. If approved, these maximum rates will be effective January 1 of each listed year for 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025. The City will also be considering discounted rates for customers that qualify.

Additional information on the rationale for waste rate increases can be found in the October 13, 2020, staff report to City Council and meeting video (fast forward to 5 hour 35 minute mark of the meeting to hear the presentation and discussion). 

***Noticed rates for 2021 includes a one-time use of $500,000 in available reserves. Without the use of this one-time reserve, rates would be higher than proposed for 2021. 

Proposed single-family residential monthly rates 

The table below shows the maximum monthly rates being considered for single-family residential customers for each year by cart size. 

Proposed single-family residential maximum rates 2021-2025
Bundled service, which includes 64-gallon recycling and 96-gallon organics services plus variable garbage size, as listed below. 
Description Current 2021  2022 2023  2024   2025
20-gal $22.81  $31.59 $40.14 $44.62 $49.16 $53.69
32-gal  $31.14  $38.53 $45.92 $50.05 $54.42 $58.94
64-gal $63.73  $63.97 $65.23 $67.22 $70.15 $73.93
96-gal 91.46  $91.46 $91.46 $91.46 $91.46 $92.21

Proposed commercial businesses and multifamily rates

The links below provide the maximum monthly rates to be considered for commercial and multifamily residential customers for the years 2021 to 2025 by container size for once weekly collection of landfilled, recyclable and compostable materials. The base rates for these services are determined not only by the type of service but also the service frequency.

Consequently, there are over 250 base rates available that cannot be provided in this notice. For complete rate details, click below to view specific rate tables for:

Supplemental services

The City Council will also consider increasing the fees for supplemental services provided by Recology that are not covered in the monthly base rates, and include backyard service, additional carts, extra on-call pickups of bulky items beyond the annual two free pickups, key service for commercial customers and other similar services.
The use of these supplemental services is discretionary and the resulting fee is the responsibility of the service recipient.

Why the need to consider rate increases?

  • Disposal costs do increase, including costs related to recycling and composting. Some of this is due to changes in cost of service and labor that are tightly managed through agreements, and typically result in increases between 5 to 10 percent per year. However, there are additional costs and impacts outside of the city’s control, such as complying with new unfunded state mandates that no longer allow organics to be landfilled (SB 1383) and China’s National Sword policy that dropped the value of recycling, along with associated revenues.
  • The historically discounted and subsidized 20 and 32-gallon residential garbage carts that reward customers to reduce, recycle and compost, have been so successful that 75 percent of residential customers use it, making it difficult to recover the full costs of the community’s disposal needs. Thus, smaller cart customers will see greater increases.
  • New regulations, resulting from a 2015 court decision, limit the city’s ability to continue subsidies and discounts to small cart customers and offer free or heavily subsidized recycling and composting services. The regulations require rates be based on actual and true costs of service for each cart/bin type (landfill-black, recycle-blue and compost-green). As a result, previous discounts for small carts must be removed to be in compliance, and a charge is required for recycling and organics, as specific costs exist to pick up and process these. The goal has been to gradually transition small cart customers to reach compliance in yearly increments, and this pattern will continue over the next five years when rate equity is expected to be reached. Thus, smaller cart customers will see greater increases and businesses will see increases in composting and recycling.

How to participate in the decision making process

There are two ways to participate in the decision making process:

  1. Provide a written protest (see below)
  2. Attend the December 8, 2020, City Council meeting via a zoom link in the meeting agenda

How to submit a written response

If you wish to file a written response, please send a letter addressed to
City Manager’s Office
ATTN: Solid Waste Service Rate Protest
701 Laurel St.
Menlo Park, CA 94025

All property owners and/or solid waste ratepayers may issue a response (with only one response registered per property or solid waste service location). The letter will be part of the public record once opened. The proposed rates cannot be adopted if written protests are received from a majority of affected parcels. All written protests must be received before 5 p.m., Tuesday, December 8, 2020, or it must be presented at the City Council meeting that evening, before the close of the public hearing on the matter.

Please note, your written response must

  • Identify the real property or service location by street address and the assessor’s parcel number (APN)
  • Indicate opposition to the proposed rate increase
  • Include the property owner name (as listed on the property tax bill) and signature
  • Be received at City Hall by 5 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, or presented at the City Council meeting that evening before the close of the public hearing.