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Garbage: What a terrible waste

Santa Clarita recycles 54 percent of its trash

Posted: December 29, 2008 8:08 p.m.
Updated: December 30, 2008 7:00 a.m.
 

Santa Clarita residents recycled 54 percent of their garbage in 2006, said Travis Lange, city environmental services manager.

Though the recycled material information is collected and reported annually, the California Integrated Waste Management Board has not released official recycling information for 2007, Lange said.

Every municipality in California was required by a 1989 law to recycle half of all solid waste by the year 2000.

The law, AB 939, also mandates municipal recycling and composting programs.

In 2006, the city of Santa Clarita met its mandate of diverting 50 percent of its waste away from landfill for the first time.

Santa Clarita obtained two time extensions from the state Waste Management Board before it met AB 939's requirements.

The city promotes a host of environmentally friendly recycling programs as well as meeting its waste-management requirements.

"Curbside recycling is common now, but it wasn't always," Lange said.

Along with curbside recycling bins, local waste-management leaders provide green waste containers for separate lots, bins at parks and Metrolink stations, Christmas tree recycling and a construction- and demolition-waste ordinance.

According to a Waste Management report, 47 percent of state refuse comes from construction waste. Residents account for 31 percent of the state's waste.

Lange said everyone involved in Santa Clarita's effort to reduce, reuse and recycle were fully committed to the city's ultimate goal. But in the end, those who live and work in Santa Clarita are responsible for the city's success.

"The reality of it is that we can get all the programs in the world going, but it comes down to what people are going to do when they throw something away that matters," Lange said.

"By finding better uses for our daily discarded materials, California created a mainstream industry that accounts for 85,000 jobs, generates $4 billion in wages and produces $10 billion worth of goods and services annually," said Beatriz Sandoval, Waste Management spokesperson.

Californians save enough trash to fill 100 football fields stacked as tall as the Empire State Building, according to the California Integrated Waste Management Board.

Of the 93 million tons of solid waste Californians produce annually, 54 million tons of trash are recycled.

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