History Of Waste And The Baylands




Features are added as part of the Byxbee Park Interim Plan - a compass design at the ridge, benches throughout the park, and vegetative islands complete with a small irrigation system using recycled water.



Landfill capping is completed. The expanded Byxbee Hills Park is opened as parkland with walking trails.



The City receives regulatory approval to begin final closure of the landfill (including the construction of an evapo-transpirative cap) and implementation of the post closure maintenance plan. The landfill is seeded with native grasses.



The composting facility closes after 34 years.

The recycling center closes after 41 years.

The City evaluates the feasibility of building an Energy-Compost Facility.


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

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

Measure E passes - undedicating 10 acres of Byxbee Park for a 10 year period for the exclusive purpose of potentially building a composting facility to process yard trimmings, food waste and other organic material.


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


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.



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.


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.



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.


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.


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


Curbside recycling collection expands to all single-family homes.



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.



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.



City dedicates city-owned baylands to parkland.



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


Garbage haulers start using enclosed compacting trucks.



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



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.


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


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


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.


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