‘Waste Not, Want Not’ a Watchword Of Program to Extend Landfill’s Life

Ever think about how much of your trash you put in recycling, instead of into the garbage?

As much as half? Two thirds? Or less?

Right now the city's working full-speed-ahead toward an ultimate goal of "Zero Waste" going to the Miramar Landfill.

Thirty years ago, there were dire predictions that the 1,500 acre dump would be full by the turn of the century.

But with intensive recycling efforts – and occasional expansions approved by the state’s Solid Waste Board -- in 2015 there's still plenty of space available.

Believe it or not, San Diego's citywide average "diversion rate" of waste to recycling has climbed to 67 percent by now.

The next benchmarks of the Zero Waste Program are 75 percent by 2020, 90 percent by 2035.

Most of the folks we surveyed at the dump on Thursday figured they're already at two-thirds recycling.

“I would say that 80 percent or so of what I do gets recycled,” Pacific Beach resident Sam Parker told NBC 7. “But I could always do better."

Clairemont resident Karen Villalpando said, "I think three-quarters is pretty easy to get to."

City environmental specialist Rebecca Hays-Chenetti cites myriad public education and outreach programs designed to raise everyone’s consciousness and commitment.

"If we get city residents recycling, commercial builders, haulers, companies all pitching in,” she said, “and people diverting more organic waste, then I think we can get that lift.”

As for what seems a mythical goal of absolute “Zero Waste” by 2040 – it’ll probably require a lot more yard waste and recycling containers, too.

"Some people have these little, tiny blue ones,” Villalpando noted. “They need to get them a regular size bin. Because we couldn't last with one bin. We had to get two more."

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