At 1.4 million in population, the City of San Diego is the second largest city in California and the eighth largest city in the U.S. City crews have provided trash, recycling and organics collection services for 300,000 single family residential properties. The City operates the Miramar Landfill which is scheduled to close by 2028. The City also operates the Miramar Greenery Commercial Compost Facility at the landfill site which processes over 105,000 tons of food, wood, and plant debris into quality mulch, compost and woodchips.
In 2008, the City adopted the City Recycling Ordinance, which requires all single family, multi-family, commercial and industrial properties, and permitted special events to divert their recyclable materials from destructive disposal. The City also adopted the Construction & Demolition Ordinance which requires the majority of construction, demolition and remodeling projects to divert their debris by reuse, donating, or recycling materials (think concrete, asphalt, wood, metals, etc.).
On December 16, 2013, the City Council adopted a Zero Waste Objective that established the targets of 75% diversion of waste from landfills by 2020 and Zero Waste by 2040.
The City conducted extensive outreach prior to the adoption of the Zero Waste Plan in 2015, which includes the following strategies:
- Establish AB 1826 (commercial organics) infrastructure
- Establish diversion requirements in franchise agreements (for multifamily and commercial collection services)
- Provide enhanced technical assistance for commercial and multi-family
- Allow fibrous yard trimmings at the Miramar Greenery
- Develop a Resource Recovery Park
- Modify City Recycling Ordinance to reduce exemptions and add materials (including organics and reusable materials)
- Modify C&D Ordinance: increase diversion requirement to 65%
- Develop a recycling reporting by neighborhoods and City departments program
- Require City Recycling Ordinance compliance as part of City leases of commercial office space
- Provide enhanced education about and enforcement of City serviced residences recycling programs
- Draft and propose policies to support local, state and federal producer responsibility policies and laws and further promote reuse policies
- Develop “Zero Waste Star” recognition program to encourage diversion
- Reuse/repair resource directories and community reuse programs
- Develop and continue community partnerships
- Fully implement public space recycling at parks, beaches, recreation centers, transit centers, and libraries
- Add materials to the City serviced single family recycling stream as markets develop
- Investigate expanding and automating single family yard trimmings collection to include all City single family residential customers
- Investigate providing weekly greenery collection with food scraps and every other week trash collection
- Establish an outreach program that emphasizes the food scraps hierarchy: reduce, reuse/rescue, compost
- Promote on-site food scraps processing and/or composting where consistent with stormwater objectives
- Develop a community composting program
The City of San Diego is on the Road to Zero Waste and has achieved a 71% diversion rate.
City of San Diego Environmental Services Department