San Diego's Green Trash Bins Slow in Coming

Blue & black bins outnumber greenery bins

San Diego is good about blue and black but not so good about green. I’m talking about the green recycling bins that only 15 percent of the city has for collecting grass and yard clippings.

As it is now, you can put out “greenery” in regular plastic trash cans. Those cans are picked up every other week and turned into compost and mulch at the Miramar Landfill. But the city doesn’t have enough money to distribute green bins similar to the blue recycling bins.

Joan Williamson uses the green bins at her Clairemont home and thinks they encourage green recycling.

“It automatically gets you to organize what you are throwing away,” says Williamson. She says she notices her neighbors putting out the bins as well.

But adding more green bins on San Diego streets costs money and that’s the problem.

“We would like to take the program city wide,” said San Diego Recycling Program Manager Ken Prue. “But it is something at this point we don’t have the funding for.”

San Diego does not charge an extra fee for trash pick-up and Prue says that’s what it would take to deliver the green bins to everyone. Other cities like Chula Vista have the bins but they charge for the service. Expanding the service inside the city would take additional funding from the city budget or another source of revenue.

Right now sections of Tierrasanta, La Jolla, Clairemont, Allied Gardens, San Carlos, Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach and Point Loma have green bins. Scripps Ranch and Rancho Penasquitos are next to expand. Recycling officials believe the green bins encourage more people to collect their green waste.

“They are not going to be putting that greenery into their black trash bins and putting it into the landfills,” said Prue.

The bins are 96 gallon wheeled carts and hold about the same as three regular trash cans. Right now about 30,000 bins are being used in the city with 160,000 using manual collection.

The compost made from the green waste is offered free to city residents.

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