Zero-Waste In Sunny San Diego
In an effort to conserve resources, protect the environment and save money, the San Diego City Council recently enacted a zero-waste plan, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. The ultimate goal is to limit the total amount of waste that ends up in local landfills and to re-use as many resources as possible.
Currently, San Diego has an extremely efficient rate of “waste diversion”—in other words diverting certain recyclable or reusable waste away from landfills. Over the last decade, the city has increased its waste diversion rate by a full 20 percent—the rate for waste diversion stands, at the moment, at 67 percent.
As part of the recent zero-waste plan, San Diego aims to achieve waste diversion of 75 percent by 2020. By 2035, the city hopes to achieve 90 percent, and by 2040 a full “zero waste” status. Zero waste basically involves trying to reuse as many resources as possible, while limiting the amount of waste sent to landfills. While many might assume that zero-waste focuses extensively on materials like plastics, diverting organic material from the city’s landfill is actually a major priority.
According to a recent waste characterization study, one third of the waste sent to San Diego’s landfills is organic—mostly yard trimmings and food. Food waste, according to the Tribune, accounts for 15 percent of total waste, or roughly 200,000 tons of food annually. To reduce organic waste, the city is pushing for residents to be mindful of reducing the amount of organic waste they generate. From donating usable food to composting food scraps, the city is encouraging residents to do their part. Furthermore, the city—as part of State Assembly Bill 1826—is working to implement organic recycling at multi-family residents and various commercial properties.
By implementing zero waste, the city hopes to avoid opening more costly landfills. Opening more landfills is expensive, but maintaining landfills at full capacity is also expensive too. Because landfills release greenhouse gases like methane, they need to be maintained—the city spends millions to maintain landfills that have been closed for decades.
Zero waste is the way of the future. Cities are working towards zero waste, and companies should too.
If you work with a company that’s considering implementing zero-waste policies, contact Good360. We partner companies who are looking for solutions for their returns and excess products, with nonprofits in need of those particular items—companies can avoid generating more waste and nonprofits can receive the goods they require to assist those in need.