History Of Waste And The Baylands

Waste disposal in the area now known as the Palo Alto Baylands started well before municipal garbage collection in 1914.

This timeline shows how waste and the Baylands have been intertwined over the years.
 

HISTORY OF WASTE AND THE BAYLANDS

2012

The composting facility closes after 34 years.

The recycling center closes after 41 years.

2011

A 46-acre section of Byxbee Park Phase II opens to the public.

The landfill closes after 60 years, having reached its capacity.

2009

New waste hauling agreement begins, increasing materials accepted for recycling and offering compostables collection service for commercial customers.

2005

City adopts the goal of Zero Waste by 2021.

Landfill gas is used to power incinerators at the Regional Water Quality Control Plant.

Single stream recycling collection begins. Recyclables are no longer processed at the Palo Alto Recycling Center.

2004

Electricity generation from landfill gas is stopped. The power could no longer be efficiently produced with the low level of methane produced by the landfill.

1991

Byxbee Park Phase 1 opens to the public.

City enters into 30-year agreement to use the Sunnyvale Materials Recovery and Transfer (SMaRT) Station with Mountain View and Sunnyvale. Since 1993, most of Palo Alto's garbage goes directly to the SMaRT Station where it is sorted for recyclable materials.

1990

Curbside yard trimmings collection begins.

Landfill leachate (liquids within the landfill) is treated at the Regional Water Quality Control Plant. The leachate collection and removal system is retrofitted to discharge into the sewage pipeline.

1987

Electricity is generated using landfill gas and sold to PG&E. A landfill gas collection system and power generation facility are installed at the landfill.

1981

Curbside recycling collection expands to multi-unit complexes such as apartments and condominiums.

1980

Curbside recycling collection expands to all single-family homes.

1978

Curbside recycling collection trial program begins for newspapers, cans, glass, corrugated cardboard, motor oil and small scrap metal items.

Composting drop-off trial program for yard debris begins at landfill.

1971

A drop-off recycling center is opened by the City at the entrance to the landfill. It accepts tin, aluminum and bi-metal cans, glass, newspaper, cardboard, motor oil, white paper and scrap metal.

1965

City dedicates city-owned baylands to parkland.

1954

The landfill is officially created with the use of more sophisticated, sanitary landfill operations.

1951

Garbage haulers start using enclosed compacting trucks.

1934

The airport and sewage treatment plant are built in the baylands.

1930s

The garbage incinerator facility is destroyed by fire and refuse disposal operations are moved to the baylands near the newly constructed primary sewage treatment plant.

1923

John Fletcher Byxbee begins planning the baylands. Byxbee is Palo Alto’s first City Engineer.

1921

The City purchases 40 acres of baylands property for refuse and sewage disposal.

1914

A garbage incinerator is built near Newell Street and Embarcadero Road. Most of Palo Alto’s garbage is burned in the incinerator and excess wastes and residues are used as fill for the expansion of Embarcadero Road into the baylands.

Municipal garbage collection begins.

1904

Marshland is purchased for waste disposal purposes by private contractors and the City of Palo Alto.

 


Last Updated: Jul 6, 2017