Recology can't have it both ways

Is rail an economically viable way to haul San Francisco's trash?

Critics of San Francisco's plan to award Recology the city's trash disposal contract just alerted me to the curious fact that if you watch this video link (scroll down through the video clips to "Garbage 2"), you'll hear Recology COO George McGrath say that rail haul in California isn't economically viable.

The link features three excerpts of a August 2009 hearing in Humboldt County regarding rail hauling of Bay Area waste to Winnemucca, Nevada--a plan that got blocked this week.

And as critics of San Francisco's plan note, that's a curious thing for McGrath to say in Nevada given that Recology is proposing to haul San Francisco's trash by rail to the Ostrom Road landfill in Yuba County, which is a 238-mile round trip.

Recology spokesperson Adam Alberti told me that while he hasn't viewed the video in question, he believes folks are taking McGrath's comments out of context, since McGrath wasn't talking about the San Francisco proposal.

"In this particular case," Alberti said, referring to the San Francisco contract, "rail works fine. Clearly pricing on rail was superior and allowed us the recommendation based on that grading criteria."

"At the end of the day," Alberti said, turning the focus back on Waste Management, Recology's main competition for the San Francisco landfill disposal contract, "we are looking at a very monied competitor who wants the business. Our proposal is recommended by the City and County of San Francisco as the best cost alternative and, we believe, the most environmentally sustainable."


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