Palo Alto, CA Zero Waste Operational Plan

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Palo Alto, CA, US

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Type: Policy

Status: Adopted on 9/17/07

Source File:


The City’s Zero Waste Strategic Plan, adopted in October 2005, identifies the key objectives and strategies needed to reach zero waste including both reducing the creation of waste through policies and incentives designed to eliminate waste at the source and maximizing recycling through expanded collection programs, processing facilities, education, outreach, and technical assistance.

Key objectives of the Zero Waste Strategic Plan, carried forward into the Zero Waste Operational Plan are to:

  • Encourage all sectors to implement zero waste. The programs described in the Zero Waste Operational Plan have been organized around each generator sector including, residential, commercial/multi-family, industrial and self-haul.
  • Develop infrastructure beyond recycling. The facilities described in the Zero Waste Operational Plan, primarily address maximizing diversion through recycling and composting. The proposed grant or loan program will assist reuse and recycling businesses to locate within the City, as will the designation of a Recycling Market Development Zone through the California Integrated Waste Management Board.
  • Lead by example and advocate zero waste. The policies described in the Zero Waste Operational Plan include continuing the City’s advocacy for zero waste and working with regional partners in support of mutual goals. The City will also lead by example by maximizing diversion at City facilities and providing technical support in waste prevention programs throughout the City departments.
  • Update waste data and develop a Zero Waste Operational Plan. The Palo Alto Waste Composition Study, dated May 2006 is included in Exhibit A and summarized in Section 1.3.

The Zero Waste Strategic Plan recommended the development of the Zero Waste Operational Plan designed to:

  • Develop a waste composition study, comparable to previous studies prepared for the City, to identify the types and amounts of materials remaining in the City’s disposed waste stream.
  • Recommend the programs that will be needed to meet the service needs identified in the Strategic Plan.
  • Recommend the facilities that will be needed in the future and candidate locations for the facilities that will be needed once the City’s landfill closes in 2011.
  • Identify appropriate policies, incentives and requirements that will be needed to implement the Operational Plan.
  • Identify the cost of implementing the Operational Plan.
  • Determine the funding and staffing that will be needed to implement the Operational Plan.

Read and download the complete Zero Waste Operational Plan