tv Government Access Programming SFGTV May 23, 2018 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT
sites to take their mixed debris and send it to a registered facility. the reason that's so important, they are approved by us as being able to sort. so they sort as much as they can so that they minimize what goes to landfill. what's happening right now is there are some bad actors out there at construction and demolition sites that aren't sending their things to those facilities. they send them straight to landfill so the mixed debris is going straight to landfill, it's very heavy. ascribed to san francisco as our waste, and so our tons to disposal are going up dramatically because of those bad actors. and gets even worse because those landfills are not inclined to tell us who those bad actors are. they are protecting their customers. we managed to get a law passed at the state to help us with the landfills. turned out to not be nearly strong enough, so we are very much struggling with how to get that information and how to go after the bad actors.
i'll come back to some of our solutions for this in a little bit. second challenge is those large generators. it's important for everyone to do the right thing, if you think about it, the large generators, they generate the most of all three streams and we need to focus our compliance efforts there. so, large generator is a large apartment building, it's a large commercial operation, even things like hospitals, universities, hotels, shopping centers, just thinking about the complexity of their waste management and handling schemes, you can understand the challenges they face but none the less, 60% of what they have in the black bin compactor shouldn't be there so we can do better and we need to do better with that. the and finally, that thorny issue of consumption patterns. i mentioned that the whole pie is going up because san francisco is buying so much more, so not only what is building in the green bins and
the blue bins, but also in the black and that's because of increases in consumption. so more recyclable, and trash. amazon effect, everyone is familiar with the boxes coming in. fortunately, the cardboard we can handle and changed the size of the blue bin, the problem is what's inside. whether it's a meal delivery kit or something with bubble wrap coming from or styrofoam peanuts from out of state, those meal delivery kits are the bane of our existence with the gel freezer packs, styrofoam insulation and they are more and more popular. so, fully two-thirds of our litter to cups and straws, so find ways to reduce what's bought and purchased and increase reuse. so how are we addressing those challenges? those challenges are front and center in our thinking every day
we come to work. and we are working on them daily. so, one of the items we are doing is we are buffing up our construction and demolition program. we are in the process of adopting new regulations. identifying the bad actors, working with other agencies who have similar problems with landfills not disclosing information, so we are working very hard to increase the success of that program. and we have more to go on that. with recology, working on the city-wide recycling rollout, you will hear more about, i know you are both aware of it. the biggest change to the recycling program in 15 years, shrinking the black bin, expanding the blue bin, and making sure that more and more things can go in that blue bin by improving the facility at recycle central, so it can handle film wrap, so it can handle juice boxes and cartons.
we understand that even with all that opportunity there still is a lot of behavior change problems. or challenges, so, we are upping our outreach and our technical assistance. we are using the money that we get from the garbage rates to do door to door outreach, to educate 25,000 youth every year, to provide technical assistance on-site with large commercial as well as residential partners. and finally, the compliance. we have been saying please, we have been saying here is how for ten years, it's time now to ratchet things up and to say to the people who have been ignoring us or being blissfully ignorant that they can no longer do that, and so we are working very closely with recology to identify the problem properties, help them improve, yes, offer them technical assistance, but also start to ratchet up on the compliance side with letters, notices of violations, and
increases of charges for, to make it more expensive to do the wrong thing. so, the road map to 0. 0 waste is clearly the right goal. we are fully committed to that goal, it has done so much for the city and will continue to do so much for the city. so, the three key areas just to summarize this whole sort of big picture is we need to work with manufacturers to improve their products, they need to be recyclable, compostable, reusable. we need to make them reduce their waste upstream, and then we have to hold those producers accountable when there are things that we can't collect, so for example, pharmaceuticals, we can't collect them, we now have a law that makes the manufacturers of pharmaceuticals pay to take them back. that kind of producer responsibility. we do it for paint. we need to expand those areas where it does not make sense for the city to be the collector. as generation continues to increase, we are going to need
to change consumption habits, this is tough. frankly, every city in the world is struggling with this, trying to figure out how to do this. we understand one very elegant way of doing it is by mandating products or getting rid of single use products whenever possible when we know they are not necessary, when we know there is reusable replacements. we did it with bags, we'll do it with straws, let's look to what else is on the table next. is it cups, is it foodware? what is the next thing we can drive behavior change. and finally, maximizing recovery. it's making sure that recycle central in pier 96 has state of the art. that tunnel road where we are collecting our green waste is also state of the art, and that's really on recology. they are focussed very closely on making sure that they have the infrastructure needed. it's also making sure from our work that we have the best source separation. with the best source operation, we have highest and best use. they are all linked.
so san francisco, as supervisor safai said, is considered to be best in class and we should not forget that. while we push ourself and say it's not enough, we should not forget we have the best in class program. but of course, when you look at that disposal, that hockey stick, we can't rest on our laurels. we are not done. we have a long way to go. and we'll do it in partnership with you, with the board of supervisors, who work with us on this legislation, with the mayor who leads by example, and prioritizes this kind of work. we need to increase recovery and we need to overcome complacency. that is our challenge. and we do this with our commission as well, our commission is really well placed to have the deeper dive with the public, to have that kind of engagement, problem solving. and it is our intention and hope to come back to the commission and say all right, you guys set the 2020 goal. let's do a deeper dive with our
colleagues in the public, and let's figure out what is that metric that we can use since we are not using diversion anymore, because diversion in 2006 went out, the state of california said it's not a good metric. but tons to landfill is not for the person on the street. we are looking forward to the, in this year, 2018, to be the year of that deep dive with our commission. so in closing, as i intimated before, the department of the environment does not do this alone. we do this with partners. it is a collective effort and it's going to take all of us and the success depends on all of us. depends on you asking questions, you being engaged, you holding us all accountable and you challenging us to do more. we also collaborate very closely with other city departments, the department of public health and public works are our partners every step of the way. and of course, one of our key
>> supervisor safai: so you talks about policies, you talks about law, you talked about behavior, but i want you to talk about what the role the folks that do the work play. what role does that play in terms of how we have achieved what we have achieved and how can we do better? >> thank you for bringing up the important role of how do we get things in the right bin because sometimes we get things in the right bin just because a person does the right thing? they know which bin to go to, but those bins, they stay in place. and if it isn't for our janitors, our custodians, our
teams, this wouldn't get to the right bins at all. if we don't have the janitors on board, if they are not part of our partnership, there is no program. that is the case if you look at some of the really successful places like at&t park where they have incredible staff who collect what is generated in the park but then also work with it afterwards, whether they're sorting it or just making sure it gets in the right bin, our janitors are key partners. they're our true zero waste champions. when they don't feel like they're part of the process, you won't have success. >> supervisor safai: right. and we'll have recology talk about this too, but we have facilities in the city of san francisco. you talked about cnd where they're doing demolition. you have people actually doing that work, sorting along with the machines. but also in the facilities that we have in san francisco that are actually doing sorting as
well that recology has, so can you talk a little bit about that? >> so details on what happens at a registered facility, i would ask some of my colleagues to do. >> supervisor safai: yeah, on a brought scale what that means because do other cities in the united states have a workforce that's dedicated to actually doing sorting? that's what i'm talking about. >> california's a pretty unique place. i like to call it the bubble inside the bubble. san francisco is the bubble inside the bubble which is the bay area. what makes hence specialized is they have staff to make sure the cement goes in one pile, the usable wood goes in another. it's critical work to take a mixed load and make it into something usable. >> supervisor safai: along with our composting, we also have those facilities, as well,
the people that are doing that work. >> i'm sorry. >> supervisor safai: people that are also doing the work of recycling and composting, we also have those bins in the city. >> if you go to pier 96 and you look at recycle central, we can only automate so much. it's people working that make sure what's coming out on the other end is quality acceptable to consumers, to markets abroad. >> supervisor safai: that's what i was saying. the thing that's interesting to me is i have a little bit of specific knowledge on this is because i was part of writing the mandatory and recycling ordinance. when we got the first draf from the mayor's office at the time, there was one reference in a seven-page document or nine-page document, one reference to the word "custodian." there was no conversation about the people that are actually doing the work. so after that, the team centers
and the janitors were invited to the table, so i think along with others, we ended up with a really well crafted piece of legislation that was thoughtful. we can come back to that later, but there's still some holes in that, but we've been talking about how we can tighten that up. >> fair enough. >> supervisor safai: okay. so i think we'd like to call up john porter from recology. you have to ask him.
i'm sorry. do you want to use this? >> yeah, sure. i'm sorry. i thought it was going to be loaded on there. >> supervisor safai: it's okay. >> that should work. >> supervisor safai: you got it? >> no -- >> supervisor safai: okay. i think that's the same version. >> hopefully, yeah. sent it yesterday, just a small change -- perfect. it'll do. wish it wasn't on paper. there would be zero waste. >> supervisor safai: please proceed. >> all right. good morning, supervisors. thank you. really appreciate the opportunity to talk about this really important topic. supervisor safai, i'm glad to hear you're so passionate about this. i'm looking forward to sharing
with you the details that you asked for about, kind of what we're doing to help get to zero waste and what challenges we currently face and what are our opportunities currently as a result. that slide that director rafael shared with you about disposal, that's primarily related to the citywide disposal. this graph that you'll see here today shows the tons that recology is touching. and as you can see, the compost and recycling participation is matching the population growth of the city. so as we're getting more residents into the city, as more people are moving here, the participation rate is continuing to grow. and that disposal number, director rafael's correct. it is flat lining. it isn't where we'd like to see it. we'd like to see it going down.
i'm going to talk in a minute about what we're doing in order to improve that result and as you mentioned, kind of the first or the largest role that we've had in over 15 years since we rolled out the three streams and the expansion of the commodities, and we're actually already seeing some positive results as part of that. so the new program, as you're familiar, is a new single-family home program where previously, the standard was 32 gal-lons trash, 32 gallons recycling, 32 gallons composting. we are now moving to that as standard. this moves all single-family residential homes to 85% diversion. we still understand there is the need for a trash bin as there are some difficult to handle materials such as diapers, animal waste,
styrofoam, and those types of items. we've actually expanded the commodities that we're accepting: textiles, for example, we would prefer it go to reuse somewhere like a goodwill or st. vincent de-paul. film and small plastic bag as well as small pieces of wood and metal can know go in the recycling bin, so really narrowing what's going into the trash and expanding recycling. we're seeing tremendous response from our customers. 78% of customers are accepting the new system, the new 16-gallon trash. and the loads that we're receiving in recycling are
actually cleaner that they've been before. partnering with the department or s.f. environment, we have a large outreach program, restickering every single container and bin in the city, providing new signage, and outreach material that every customer's receiving three touches to educate them on the new commodities, the new program, and how little should actually be sent into the trash bin. we can stay here for a minute. also, in order to prepare for that, we made a $14.7 million upgrade to our pier 96 central recycle facility, and that equipment has enabled us to accept those film plastic materials. we have a suction system where our employee owners, teamsters at pier 96 are able to take those pieces of film plastic and place them into a suction conveyance system. we've also got new magnetic belts and other items that help us accept those different commodities. and we're currently planning as part of one of the challenges that i'll discuss with you today, additional improvements
to that facility to address the crisis that we're facing with, you know, national sort in china. we'll give them a minute to -- thank you for doing this. >> supervisor safai: just keep going until they pull it up, please. >> okay. and also, in terms of, you know, our challenges, as director rafael mentioned, multifamily buildings are a real challenge. san franciscans come here from all over the world, and they're not as familiar with our programs, and we need to do as good of a job possible on educating them on our programs because, you know, when they come from other places as debbie -- director rafael mentioned, they might not have as a strong recycling and composting program. they may not receive the same amount of commodities that we accept in san francisco, so
that's something that we need to focus on and get those apartment dwelling residents of san francisco engaged and knowledge of how we ---informed of how we work in san francisco. we're building a new refuse transformation station in san francisco. it's going to expand the facility for increased participation, so as san francisco grows, we get more people, we're going to need to accept more organics tonnage. additionally, our facility was never intend today have the amount of throughput that goes through that facility, so this is going to make a safer and more efficient work environment for our employee owners, and we're really excited about kind of moving forward and kind of expand the organics participation. next slide. so in terms of talking about
challenges, director rafael mentioned construction demolition. about 1 is 00,000 tons of disposal in san francisco are not touched by recology. there isn't a lot of transparency about where the source of that material is but as we've seen this construction boom over the last eight years, you know, a significant volume of the material that's used in construction ends up in landfill. most of this material is metals, wood, drywall, you know, gypsum, all things that can be reused and repurposes, so we are looking to improve or c and d facility, our currently c and d facility. we have plans over the next several years to construct a new facility. that'll increase our throughput by 40% and recovery by 50%, so
that's a huge opportunity for us. next slide. and then lastly, you may have seen this, the wall street journal had coverage on this last week. you know, it continues to get attention across the united states. china has as of this month completely cutoff all import of recycled materials. we fortunately in san francisco have a great team of employees that have enabled us to continue to bring that material elsewhere. our material's in high demand, so we haven't negatively been impacted in san francisco by volume -- sorry, pricing. we're able to move that volume to other jurisdictions and places, but this kind of creates a larger issue for the industry as a whole. and i think fortunately, we've always been a good actor. some bad actors who maybe weren't processing material already included far too much
contamination in the recyclables that they were sending to china. we need to kind of increase the education of our customers as well as improve, you know, the facility that we have in order to meet this new chinese specification of.5 recycled paper. this has kind of resulted in an oversupply of recycled materials going to other places and decreased the price that we receive from about $120 a ton for paper to about $8. >> supervisor ronen: why don't we have the capacity in the united states to process recyclable materials? why are we sending it to china? >> that's a great question. you know, i think that first of all, these facilities are very capital intensive, and they also -- because people aren't sending them clean material, they're very dirty. and i think the united states, they saw a transition away from that processing here.
there are some, you know, mils still in the united states and actually companies are now reinvesting it as a result of this, you know, change, but this transition has happened over the last 30 years and has kind of now, we've got caught unprepared for it. we, you know, had been shipping this off to china, and we didn't have the infrastructure in the united states. i would love to be able to send all this material, keep it in the united states. i think that makes the most sense, but it is, yeah. >> supervisor safai: are you done with your presentation? >> yeah. >> supervisor safai: so i'm going to ask director rafael and you both to answer this same question. >> sure. >> supervisor safai: so -- not -- again, not to be corny, but low hanging fruit, right? there's 60% of what we send -- you can come back up, director rafael. 60% of what we're sending to landfills is compostable and
recyclable. so what can we do? what are the -- some of the simple steps that we can do to capture that? i -- i'd like to hear you both answer that. >> okay. great. so i guess the first step is, you know, there's an opportunity for processing this material. getting our customers educated as to what we can accept. now that our confideustomers k that they can put film plastic, they've got larger recycling bins that they can put the card board in. you look at our refuse transfer station, it's a lot of card board. we just need to give our customers the right side card board to get to the right place. >> supervisor safai: when it goes to you, someone's doing the work. >> if it gets in the right container. >> supervisor safai: if it gets to the right place, someone's grabbing the plastic film that you told us about, they're sorting it, pulling it out, putting it in a machine.
>> correct. >> supervisor safai: you're saying if we send you more, you can do more work. >> correct. >> supervisor safai: okay. director rafael? >> obviously, there's going to be multiple answers. low hanging fruit, that's a tough one because we've been working on this for ten years. >> supervisor safai: i was trying to be funny. >> oh, that's the pun part. >> supervisor safai: 60% -- maybe i should have had coffee for everybody. >> no, that was me. >> supervisor safai: so the 60% of what we're sending to landfill is either recycleable or compostable. that seems to be the low hanging fruit. what can we do to change the behavior? you said large buildings are large generators of waste. are they doing what they need today do? i've got calls of complaints, why are they making our trash
bins so small? it's really about sorting and doing the right thing, so that's what i want to hear you talk about. >> i want to share with you a survey we did recently just to give you a sense of the challenge of the problem because clearly, the solution is 99% of people have access to doing the right thing, so why aren't they doing the right thing? we can -- there's two sort of directions on that. we can get better at making them do the right thing, or we can take care of it afterwards, so those are the two opportunities. and then, there's a third opportunity of taking care of that black bin somehow at recology. as you -- >> supervisor safai: that's what i'm talking about. >> yeah, so you've got three insertion points. the insertion point of the individual behavior change, which is the place that our department spends most of its energy on, we do that through technical assistance by making sure people understand, have the right signs, have the bins
in the right place. that is going on in a huge fashion right now. it's going on in multifamily. the challenge we have is we did a survey of a certain part of the population in san francisco, and we said, do you know why you should recycle. off the charts, they knew. do you know how to recycle? do you know what goes in each bin? absolutely. they could name everything that goes in each bin. do you recycle? do you sort? no. okay. why don't you do it? because it's too much trouble. it's just too much work. so here, we have a system with the ultimate convenience, right? we've got -- everybody's got the bins. we have signs to show you, we have outreach campaigns, and they still don't want to do it because it's still not convenient enough, whatever that culture of convenience is here, we're up against it in a big way. so what we're looking at, how -- but we can't give up on that, it's -- all these things are an "an," not an "off."
we have to keep at that, because we'll never get it all if we rely on those two other things. we keep doing that even though we're up against people's complaceancecy. i look @and the park, commercial hotels that have commercial sorters that come and sort for people. they can't do sorting if there isn't good enough sorting, but they can do enough to get over the hump and get tremendous rates of recovery. >> supervisor safai: we know -- the three of us and others in the room, know what -- let's just make it real simple. so if i take my banana peel, and i take my soiled hamburger wrapper, and i put that in the black bin at any house or at my office, that's what we're talking about here with this
60%. >> that's exactly what we're talking about. >> supervisor safai: because when recology comes and picks it up in the black stream, no one's looking in that black stream. whatever's in that black stream is just going to landfill, is that right? >> at this point, that is correct. >> supervisor safai: unless i put amy hands in the trash and do my own sorting, but break that down, there are janitors in at&t park and these hotels that do this work. >> and they need room. that's part of the challenges. if they're going to sort, they're going to need to have the tables, they're going to need to have the ability to sort so they can make sure what needs to happen is going in the right way. >> supervisor safai: so if we did that in a more shape or
form on a more expanded basis, we have the potential of get 60% more of what's going to landfills. >> we certainly have the opportunity to make a big impact on that number. >> supervisor safai: and then what about that black stream, recology, when that black stream comes to your facility, does anybody look at that. >> well, again, that's a complicated answer. technology, we had an extrusion press which is actually -- >> supervisor safai: what did you just say? >> an orex extrusion press. >> supervisor safai: i was about to say bless you. i didn't know what you said. >> it's a machine that basically crushes the garbage and gets all the material out of it. you had a banana peel, you threw it away. we had a perfectly of machinery that crushed the trash -- we're constantly looking at other
technologies. the composting program has such high participation, we weren't getting the -- you know, the material out of the machine. it was too dry. >> supervisor safai: but why don't you? i know in other municipalities, they have one stream and then they do all the sorting and recycling. i know they do that in other parts of the united states. so why don't you take that black stream, open it up, put it on a conveyor belt and start picking out the banana peels. >> i will tell you why. i love this question. debbie -- director rafael mentioned it earlier. you throw your banana peel and your orange, and you throw it in your card board, your paper. that banana gets on the paper, that orange gets on the card board. those materials no longer have value. china has strong import restrictions. they've actually cut it off for the month of may and june.
that material gets ruined. you throw it in the trash with your animal waste, baby waste, it gets ruined. >> supervisor safai: that gets ruined, but there has to be 60%. >> those facilities, what we call it is dirty murph, they're only getting about 80% of the crv value. those facilities are not a panacea. the best way we believe is to separate the material at the source and ensure that it has the highest and best use, which is in many cases either reuse or recycleability. >> supervisor safai: so when you say at the source, you mean in the commercial building. >> sure. >> supervisor safai: in the home. those are really the only two choices other than the construction site. so there's no problem in taking the black stream when it gets
to you and sorting through that? >> in our long-term plan, we do plan on having a facility. we have not seen the technology that we believe will work best. the goal is to get all the material going in the right place. as you're pointing out, that solves 60% of the problem. in the future, once we shrink that trash can and the participation rate grows, we are going to look into a trash processing facility. those -- we're having a discussion with a company from europe today about enzymatic processing, whether we can put an enzyme into material and turning them into natural gas. that consumes a lot of energy and it's challenging. i'd rather see it go in the recycling bin or the compost bin. >> supervisor safai: now you said you have plans to create and expand facilities to do more processing.
>> correct. >> supervisor safai: so that also means more work for us, more people there actually on the ground as director rafael referred to. >> yeah. it really depends -- those facilities have not been designed yet. as of right now, the workforce, if we were to go on a trash processing, i believe we would definitely need more people than what you have today. >> supervisor safai: so i know i've dominated the questions. do you have more -- i know i have a lot, but i wanted to give you the opportunity. >> supervisor ronen: you keep going with your questions. i have a bunch of comments. >> supervisor safai: going back to the c and d, you talked about creating a new facility for that. sounds like if i demomy house, and i get one of those big bins, i've seen them all over
the city, i'm not required to send it to a c and d. >> whether it's happening. >> supervisor safai: well, it sounds like it's not, given there's these facilities that won't tell us, but we're being penalized or it's going against our number. >> we know it's happening. >> i wanted her to answer it. >> supervisor safai: are they competitors? >> no. that's a polish. we're worried about what material we receive. >> supervisor safai: okay. so what about where we're sending our -- our landfill? we have an agreement with a landfill company, a landfill facility, and what's that? how long do we have that, and will that run out at some point? >> i believe there's eight years remaining on the current landfill agreement? >> we just -- one of the first things that happened when i started is our landfill agreement expired and we
started a new one. i think they are eight years. 7.5. 7.5 years. >> supervisor safai: there's also a cost associated with that. there's a significant cost because landfills are few and far between in the area. land is much more valuable to do things with than to send trash to, so what does that mean in the context of this conversation? so what's the name of our landfill? >> hay road landfill. >> supervisor safai: hay road. and what happened to that after 7.5 years? >> we have the ability to renegotiate the contract, is my understanding. >> supervisor safai: is that the only one that we use in san francisco? >> that's correct. >> supervisor safai: and where is that? >> it's in solano county. >> and you can answer that because it's owned and operated by recology. >> supervisor safai: oh, it is? >> yeah. >> supervisor safai: that makes it easier. >> it doesn't make it easier. rather not go there. >> supervisor safai: it makes
it easier to negotiate. >> no, that is not how it happens. >> yeah, yeah. the landfill contract was competitively bid. >> supervisor safai: i'm sorry. >> for the record, there was a very, very -- >> supervisor safai: no, but it's nice that recology owns the landfill. >> supervisor ronen: can i understand this a little bit more, when you say 7.5 years, you mean that's the contract. >> on the contract. >> supervisor ronen: but eventually, the landfill fills up. how does that work? >> that's a great question. unfortunately, a lot of these landfills were permitted a long time ago, and the capacities that they were permitted well exceeded the need at that time. also, composting and recycling were pervasive, so there is a significant amount of landfill capacity left. >> supervisor ronen: how many years. >> last time i checked? >> supervisor safai: san francisco has one piece of that landfill. it's almost like a cemetery.
we have a plot. other places have plots, so if we want to buy up more plots, we have to renegotiate. >> yes. >> but to your point, landfill space, because we've been doing such a good job of generating less and others have as well, it's not the economic driver anymore. it's not the best use of that land and of that material, yeah. >> supervisor safai: okay. that's a whole other conversation. i just wanted to touch on it because i know that it's part of the goal for zero waste. it was part of the cost to the city. i know that every municipality has to consider where we send our waste, and there is a cost associated and at some point, that will run out, right, and then, we have to find new places. >> well, and the state has put a ban on organics going to landfill. >> supervisor ronen: you know, just listening to all of this, it just seems like we should have been in the enforcement
compliance phase a while ago. i studied abroad when i was in college. i studied in england, and i went home to germany, and they had zero waste in 1997. they did -- nothing went to the landfill. they washed every piece of garbage, and they sorted it out correctly, and that was what everyone did, and the expectation. and if it's true, we just need a behavior change. and a couple -- a couple of comments that i wanted to make is i volunteer my daughter's classroom, public school in san francisco. it's t.k., so these are all five year olds every week, and they have breakfast that's provided by the school, and they compost and recycle, and the kids learn and get used to sorting their trash on their own and taking the extra time to do so.
so that training behavioral change is really important. i hope we're doing that in all school. >> every school. >> supervisor ronen: okay. fantastic. that's great that she's learning that. so she mimics that at home, which is fantastic. and then, i know we have really great -- i have to do a shout out for green streets, which started in my district and is an amazing program that specifically works in public housing facilities and really works on education and behavioral change. i think we need that. i think we need more of those intensive training both for, you know, kids and in big, large complexes where that habit isn't formed. but then, i think we need compliance at this point. if we are -- if our curve is going in the wrong direction, and people say they know why it's important, and they say they know how to do it, but they're just not taking the time, well, they need to take the time. and it's time now. we've been very generous in our education, and if that's what's
truly been causing the problem, then we have to do that. i don't have much faith in president trump or his administration certainly on environmental issues, but the fact that we're sending our trash to china so defeats the environmental purposes of properly disposing and reusing. >> let's be clear, the trash -- the trash -- >> supervisor ronen: the energy that it takes to transport it, it's absurd. and then, you know, the other thing is i was surprised to learn -- i learned this quite recently -- the amount of methane that is released from landfills and the impact on climate change and our environment. i don't think that is as well known in terms of why it's so important specifically to compost. and then, whatcom posting does to take methane out of the atmosphere, right? the double -- the double sort
of bad part of it, and then, the positive effect you can have with composting. i do think we need to have a better education campaign about that aspect of our zero waste goals because we are a city that very much compares about climate change, probably have more electric vehicles than -- than other cities, but yet we're still sending 30% of what should be composted to the landfill. we need to do more education on that part. but i really -- you know, the last thing i would say is, you know, in terms of the big business, more commercial side of the waste, i think the local 287 did do the walk in my shoes night, and part of my job i did that night was separating the waste which was an amazing experience and very hard and
very eye opening. but what i -- what i like about that program is that the workers are making sure that all of the waste is properly disposed. but we are sending a message to the people upstairs that are the workers during the day that they don't have to do that separating, and i think that's the wrong mess annual. so relooking at how, you know, these lead certified businesses are doing that, i don't know, some presorting and then an extra look at it is important. i appreciate that supervisor safai held this hearing. it's pretty outrageous that 60% of what's still going to the landfill is recycling and composting in 2018 after everything that recology and the department of the environment has been doing, and i think it's time to step it up. >> supervisor safai: okay. before we take public comment, i just want to thank you guys
for all the hard work in preparing this presentation and putting these thoughtful answers together. i think that it sounds like we have some real opportunities to in terms of enforcement, in terms of looking at some of the large generators, in terms of looking at changing people's behavior and education, and also thinking about expanded workforce opportunities to expand the ability to do more recycling and composting. so before we take public comment, supervisor yee has joined us, and he'd like to ask a few questions, i guess -- or make a comment. >> supervisor yee: i just want to make a comment, and thank you for having this hearing. as i was listening toward the tail end of this, education is a big piece of how we can be successful, and i actually have a resolution, piece of legislation moving forward to urge the school district and hopefully our departments to work in partnership to reeducate our students because
we do an okay job at the elementary school level, the younger kids. and by the time they get to high school, by youth commissioner for district seven tells me that most of the high school kids tend to forget what they learned, and we need to reinforce it. so hopefully, that's something we can look at more seriously. >> supervisor safai: great. so like to open it up for public comment. anyone that wishes to publicly comment on this item, please come forward. >> good morning, supervisors. my name is john bouchard. i'm the secretary and treasurer of teamsters local 250. we perform the sorting and represent all the drivers that collect the material. and i'd like to echo a couple of points that ms. rafael and
mr. porter made particularly in regards to the c and d collection and where it's being dumped. i think it's important that the materials being picked up is regulated in a fashion that we know where it's going, and it has been a big problem. there are a lot of bad players out there who are taking this material outside of san francisco, and i think it would be beneficial for all involved for the city to consider an ordinance that require any c and d being generated in san francisco -- [inaudible] >> supervisor safai: i'll ask you a couple questions. just from your perspective, how does it affect the workers because your time is up, but we should probably add a few seconds. how does it affect the workforce? >> well, the workforce is not being afforded the opportunity
to get their hands on the material. obviously, we cannot sort the material that's coming before our workers, so i think it's important for -- to be able to have control over what's being sorted and recycled and what's not. it has to come before the sorters, and i think it should be coming to our facility because then, we have some more control over how it's being sorted. >> supervisor safai: and particularly, the work that you guys are doing out in the pier, right, that's one of the larger operations. how many people are doing that work right now? >> we have about 150 members at pier 96. >> supervisor safai: and they're doing solely the recycling, the blue stream? >> correct. >> supervisor safai: and what exactly the work entails? >> yeah, they pull material out that's not recyclable. they bail them, get them ready for shipment. >> supervisor safai: are you
dotion the fi doing the film plastic now, as well? >> i think that's a question for mr. porter. >> supervisor safai: i see someone nodding their head and giving a thumbs up. >> this is one area that i probably disagree with mr. porter is the stuff that's coming in in the black stream, you know, i don't agree that that entire load is contaminated. at that point, i do think it's useful to go through that material. you know, other facilities do that, and even if you pull -- >> supervisor safai: i facilities in the area? >> i know the area where i come, south san francisco -- >> supervisor safai: so they actually put the waste from the black stream out on a belt, and they'll pull out a significant amount -- >> yeah, they have a commercial belt that does that. and they also have a floor sort. >> supervisor safai: say that again. >> they also have a floor sort. >> supervisor safai: so they dump it out on the floor?
>> right, or the company trucks come in, they dump it on the floor, and they go through it before it hits the recycling lines. >> supervisor safai: it seems to make sense to me that if there's 60% in that stream from what we've been told today, 60% of that could either be compostable or recycleable, it seems to me you could get a significant amount of that or an opportunity to divert a lot of that away from -- >> and some of that material, as mr. porter stated, may be contaminated, but if you can even pull 5% of material out of that one black bag that's recyclable, that's useful, right? and because national sort is a real problem, it's important for recycling to be cleaner than ever, and i -- right now, our members are doing the best they can. but i think to more efficiently sort this material, i think it's important that you have more eyes and hands on the
material. i don't believe that technology is the answer there. i believe that workers -- you know, human workers are the answer. you have to be able to get your hands on this material and sort it. i think that's important. and that might call for expanded facilities. i know they're -- the c and d facility is being expanded, but it might be time to look at expanding, you know, the recycling facilities, pier 96, for example. any time you go there, there's recyclables up to the door waiting to -- that are dumped and waiting to be sorted. to get through that, you need more workers. to accommodate more workers, you're probably going to need expanded facilities. >> supervisor safai: okay. thank you, mr. bouchard. >> thank you. >> supervisor safai: any other members of the public wish to make a comment? i see one person. >> good morning, supervisors.
thank you for having this hearing. i wanted to be able to bring up these bins that you guys see throughout city hall and your own personal offices. when we first started discussing this legislation back in 2008, there was no reference to the workers that actually were doing the work, both at that time, recology. at that time my mentor bob morales was sitting at the table. i wanted to be able to show you because for us, it was a lot of work that all of these -- our janitor janitors had to bend under the next, not once, but twice to be able to get both of these. i wanted to say when it first started out, janitors felt empowered by the legislation, because it gave them an opportunity to tell tenants you're not recycling in the right streams. after the honeymoon period, it
turned into disciplinary action -- >> supervisor safai: can you allow her to keep speaking, please. >> -- doing their portion of recycling. achieving zero waste is going to be a feat in itself. if homeowners in san francisco and as you eloquently put it, a lot of our children we've seen grow up in the public schools in san francisco, if they can do it, i don't see why the tenants that are working there 9:00 to 5:00 consider themselves too -- don't want to be bothered with having to do that part when our janitors have pointed it out, they're disciplined because there's been contamination between the streams, and our members are the ones being told you're not doing your job when in fact it's supposed to be the whole building, including the owners that have to buy into this culture. if the tenants and homeowners understand it takes a village, i don't know why the tenants in
the buildings -- the office buildings and tenants don't understand it's going to take anyone. if you can picture a homeowner who's recycling in the proper streams, can you picture a worker sorting through 1.5 million pounds of trash in seven hours. i see the shirts they wear, the luncheons they host, but the problem i have is there's no recognition for the actual janitors and teamsters that are actually doing the hard work, which is absolutely important as part of this let's save the earth. and it doesn't mean that you giving yourself a lead certification, a platinum, a diamond lead certification means that you're a clean building. it means that the workers are doing the job for you to get there. and the problem i have with that is there's no amount of certificates that are going to make a building really clean if
they're not doing their part. and it's a culture that frankly, everyone understands 2020 is coming around, and if we don't get to that level, that's the problem we're going to have. in buildings that there are sorters, we have a much better success rate to meet some of those standards. not at 100, but we're doing a lot better in those buildings where there's sorters in house at those buildings. and i would like to ask the department of environment that they show us the numbers by telling us how many building owners have been find, how many do they just cut a check, and say i'll pay the fine but i'm not going to bring in the people to do the sorting? how many of them are not meeting the standards that the city placed on us back in 2009? and finally for us as the workers, i have to tell you, it's not an easy job, being able to bend down 2, 300 times a night just on one floor. it doesn't include the amount
of work additionally that they have to do. but in order to be relevant, in order to be able to meet the standards of the environment and leave an earth that our children can be proud of, that we can all inherit, it's going to take an effort -- there is no arrogance here. this is just are you being a responsible building owner? are you being a responsible tenant? are you being a responsible resident, homeowner? but i think we should take a page from children in kindergarten and t.k. and first grade that are being taught that it's a culture that we all have to do, and it's not just up to just the janitors and the sorters and recology from 350 to be able to do this work. so i really implore you and appreciate this hearing today, and i hope something comes out of it. thank you. >> supervisor safai: thank you. i was going to ask a few more questions, but you answered all
my questions. >> supervisor ronen: director safai, i just wanted to comment on that. i made some comments already. first of all, i have to say when i was a candidate for supervisor doing a night in the shoes of a janitor was one of the most profound things i did during the campaign, and thank you for that. i'm so glad that you offered that opportunity and forced that opportunity on every candidate. that's what i did most of the time is i sorted the trash. first of all, your members were incredible, the knowledge and the support that they gave me in doing it was just tremendous. but it was insulting. i mean, the fact that the workers upstairs couldn't, you know, do that first sort and then the janitors provide a check to that or, you know, correct things that were missed was ridiculous and insulting. and the fact that they get the lead certificate on the backs of the janitors that are doing this work was -- was really eye
opening for me, and i just -- i just -- i had already made some comments, but i just wanted to acknowledge and underscore your points because as someone who had that experience firsthand, it's just -- the points you're making are incredibly important and i hope we're taking those and making sure that we're -- whether we have to pass legislation to force it or, you know, fine or go have talks with those buildings, that culture needs to change, and it needs to change yesterday. so thank you. thank you for your testimony. >> supervisor safai: and i would say, director rafael, it would be really interesting to know based on that 60% number of what 30% compost, 30% recycleable that could go to -- that's going in our waste stream, how much of that's coming from the large generators? how much of that is actually happening in the building? because we do have examples
that you said, at&t park, embarcadero, the ferry building, some of these places that actually have people, you know, sorters, janitors doing the work on-site have a significant impact of terms of how much they're diverting versus buildings that don't. >> i would just ask that you also look at it as a bigger picture of building owners. so for example, himes has 555 california. they can be able to have -- i'm sorry. boston properties and embarcadero, they only have one building that's sorting or over himes building on mission and 2nd street is only -- out of their 28 buildings, they're only recycling at one. they only have one sorter at one of their 28 buildings, and i would look at it in that order. when we are doing our surveys of how many sorters we have in buildings, we look at it by building