Waste - Per Capita Waste Disposal
Photo: San Diego Coastkeeper
How are we doing?
Average waste disposal in San Diego County declined slightly from 2010 to 2011 but San Diego County’s average daily per capita waste disposal continues to be higher than the California statewide average and surrounding counties, with the exception of Orange County.
Why is it important?
- Landfills in Orange County will not accept our waste after 2016, and some of our own landfills are close to being at capacity.
- Waste disposal generates greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution that affects air and water quality.
- More than half of waste disposed of at landfills could be composted, recycled or reused. Improved waste management would extend the life of our landfills, which are difficult to site and expensive to build.
- Redesigning and restructuring products or manufacturing processes to reduce or reuse waste, and increasing recycling and composting efforts moves us toward a more sustainable approach to resource use and encourages new jobs in these areas.
What is the measure?
Average per capita number of pounds of solid waste disposed of each day in San Diego County: includes waste that is brought to landfills, incinerated, and exported, and reflects both residential and commercial waste. It does not include waste that has been recycled.
Ideas for Change
- To better target waste reduction and recycling policies, regularly conduct and publish regional or jurisdictional waste assessments to track sources of waste.
- Initiate commercial foodwaste recycling programs in the region and consider expansion into residential curbside pickup, as has been done successfully in Portland, OR.
- Promote utility sharing and waste and byproduct exchanges within industrial parks, Enterprise Zones, and targeted industry clusters.
- Implement Construction and Demolition Recycling Ordinances in cities that do not have them.
- Consider Pay-as-you-Throw or tiered fee structures that incentivize reduction of waste.
- Expand activity in the State Recycling Market Development Zones, which provides loans, technical assistance, and free marketing for businesses that use materials from the waste stream to manufacture their products.
Putting an End to Cigarette Butts on Our Beaches -- In an effort to prevent the most commonly littered item from reaching San Diego County beaches, I Love a Clean San Diego and the Surfrider Foundation have launched the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program. The program has installed ash can collectors on street posts and lamps in Oceanside, La Mesa, and North Park. In their most successful month so far they were able to collect approximately 2,500 cigarette butts.