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Laurene Weste: Live from City Hall

Posted: March 9, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: March 9, 2013 2:00 a.m.
 

One of the hallmarks of our city is its commitment to sustainability, state-of-the-art recycling and diversion programs, and community support to work together for the environment.

To that end, the city, together with the community and its public-private partners, has created a sound environmental program that includes energy efficiency, waste diversion, community education and special events.

Some of these efforts include bringing curbside recycling and green waste services to every city resident; diverting more than half of our community’s solid waste from local landfills; reusing nearly one million tires for playground construction and roadway resurfacing projects; replacing hundreds of lights with energy efficient bulbs at Santa Clarita facilities, resulting in an annual savings of 249,242 kilowatt hours.

Additionally, Santa Clarita recycles more than 50,800 tons of construction and demolition waste and provides more than 1,300 containers dedicated to recycling in the city of Santa Clarita, which equates to 40 percent of all commercial containers.

From energy efficiency and waste reduction to partnerships, Santa Clarita is dedicated to environmental sustainability.

Energy Efficiency

The city’s commitment to clean energy programs starts with efficiency and conservation of local resources. As a member of the Community Energy Partnership, the city works with Southern California Edison, the Southern California Gas Company and The Energy Coalition to educate residents about sustainable and energy-saving practices.

Thanks to efficiency efforts, Santa Clarita has reduced its energy consumption at various facilities by more than 2 million annual kilowatt hours, eliminating almost 4 million pounds of greenhouse emissions.

Santa Clarita also offers a variety of incentive programs so residents can save money with energy-reducing programs that help with installation of solar panels, purchasing energy efficient appliances and light bulbs, reducing energy usage through home upgrades, and much more.

To learn more about these and other programs, visit GreenSantaClarita.com.

Waste Reduction

Developing new recycling programs and enhancing existing ones continually helps Santa Clarita exceed annual diversion rates. In line with state waste reduction requirements, our city residents and the business community have exceeded our 50 percent state mandate by diverting almost 68 percent of waste from landfills through its curbside and green-waste recycling programs and other diversion programs.

Congratulations, Santa Clarita. This helps us keep long-term waste disposal costs down. Currently, more than 243,000 tons of waste is diverted annually from landfills.

Managing and reducing waste is another important part of the city’s services. Programs like battery recycling, sharps (needles) mail-back program, clothing recycling, bulky item pick-ups, manure recycling and e-waste recycling assist in lowering our diversion rates.

The Super Saver Program is another recycling option for residents. By encouraging residents to reduce the size of waste containers, participants can reduce their monthly trash bills by up to 20 percent.

Since introduction of the program in 2011, more than 1,750 Santa Clarita residents have signed up to participate. This is great because it means more recycling and less trash at these households.

In early 2013, the city installed 34 new solar-powered, compacting bins at heavily used public areas and parks, offering residents a new way to keep the community clean while increasing efficiency.

In addition to eliminating overflow and reducing frequency of garbage collection, the Big Belly Solar bins are custom-wrapped with a distinctive Santa Clarita design, making the units attractive and highly visible.

The city also regularly holds environmental events for residents to learn how to live "green" every day. Annual activities such as the River Rally, Earth Arbor Day, and Bike to Work Week get residents involved in a fun and educational way.

To learn more about local "green" programs and living a more sustainable lifestyle, visit the city’s website www.GreenSantaClarita.com or contact the Environmental Services Division at 661-286-4098.

Laurene Weste is a Santa Clarita City Council member and can be reached at lweste@santa-clarita.com.

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