LTWCA Newsletter - February/March 2005


Talkin’ Trash

Mountains of trash, no, maybe hills, no, actually windrows upon windrows. Remember that banana peel you threw out, or how about the pizza box or the used, yucky tissue. Well 18 of us from Portola Valley saw those very items in windrows being turned into rich, dark brown compost before our own eyes. The Greenwaste Tour on Saturday, 29 Jan. was enlightening and unbelievable. 79% of our garbage and yard waste is turned into compost. In other words, 10 trucks of our garbage and yard waste go to this 77 acre Greenwaste Processing Site in Gilroy, but only 2 trucks leave there to go to a refuse site. The rest is turned into compost which is sold to the local farmers in the Gilroy area.


“How do they ever accomplish this?” we thought. Well we started our tour in a large shed-type building where the garbage truck first dumps its load. Here it is hoisted onto a conveyor belt and the bulky items (e.g. couch cushions, strollers), stringy items (these jam the shredder), bottles, cans, and other noncompostable items are removed by workers and a magnet. What is left over is shredded and loaded into a truck. The truck heads out to the most recent windrow being created. We saw 350 ft.(!) long, plastic, sausage-shaped bags being stuffed with this shredded material. Once it is filled, a blower is set up to keep oxygen flowing through the bags. After 14-16 weeks of intense microbial action, the bags are opened and the material is turned for another 2-3 weeks to complete the composting process. The 140o heat generated in these long windrows is enough to kill pathogens, weed seeds, and other undersirable items. All noncompostable material is screened out and the compost is ready for the farmers.


How are we part of this process? Broken glass is the most serious contaminant in the end compost product. We need to take every precaution to keep glass out of our garbage cans. This includes light bulbs, fluorescent light tubes, drinking glasses, all glass containers (even if they still contain food, they should be put in the recycle bin), ceramics, cookware, mirrors, etc.


Hazardous Waste - Make sure hazardous waste does not end up in our garbage cans. To dispose of household hazardous waste, call 363-4718 or visit to make an appointment. Wastes that are accepted are: paint, paint thinner, varnish and stain: garden, swimming pool, and hobby chemicals: household cleaning products; batteries;: gasoline. Wastes NOT accepted are: asbestos, appliances, construction wastes, compressed gas cylinders, medical wastes, or tires. See the attached sheet to see where to take automotive products, latex paints and fluorescent lights.


Battery Recycling - In order to keep batteries (hazardous waste) out of the garbage stream you should put all household batteries in a zip-lock bag and in your recycle bin. Household batteries include: alkaline, nicad, lithium, rechargeable, camera, phone, hearing aid, remote control, in other words, everything except NO car batteries.

Submitted by Linda Drey-Nightingale


Vista Verde Association’s New Board

The Vista Verde Community Association elects new officers every two years. In November 2004, for the 2005-2006 term, the community elected new officers:

President Richard Swan

Vice President Gary Conway

Treasurer Jim Southam

Secretary Claudia Mazzetti

Committee Chairs remain: Emergency Preparedness – Bill Tagg; Webmaster – Esther Dechow

Thanks for a great term to the outgoing officers: Vice President – Karen Tate, Treasurer – Bob Strehlow and Secretary – Cindy Rowe

Submitted by Mike Ward – outgoing President


District III News

What a New Year celebration! Beth and Tore Gillbrand of Los Trancos Road became the proud parents of their first son, James Björn Gillbrand, on January 5th,. Beth will stay at home during the spring and would welcome contact with other new moms in our community. Tore will be fixing up the playhouse on the weekends and hopefully will finally realize his long-kept dream of a tree-house.

Submitted by Tore Gillbrand (Editor’s note: Welcome to the Woods, James!)


District IV News

Andria Ruben and Michael McCool will be celebrating not only moving into our neighborhood (Marguerite and Louie Thayer’s house), but also a wedding on 12 February. We wish them happiness and a hearty welcome to Los Trancos Woods.

Submitted by Linda Drey-Nightingale


Neighborhood Notes

- The next Emergency Preparedness Drill is Saturday,30 April, in the morning. Put it on your calendar now so we can be “prepared”!

- Anyone interested in a beautiful, pure-bred Malamute dog about 3 yrs. old can contact Marguerite Thayer at 408-720-8459. The Malamute is a spayed female with papers. Marguerite says she is a love, but that she will have to be given up for free for adoption soon due to family circumstances.

Submitted by Marguerite Thayer


Next Meeting - 7:00 p.m., 9 Mar.., 1074 Los Trancos Rd. Agenda includes emergency preparedness and Blue Oaks BMR’s. For minutes of the last meeting , please see the LTWCA Web Site or your District Rep.


Los Trancos Woods (LTWCA) Web Site

The web site address is:                                     The group e-mail list is:                                

Thanks to Jerry Jensen for maintaining this site AND Thanks to Armin Staprans for copying our newsletter.