Solid Waste Disposal Continues to Rise
Reducing solid waste production and diverting recyclables and green waste extends the life of landfills, decreases the need for costly alternatives, and reduces environmental impact. California has set a goal of diverting 75% of waste away from landfills by 2020 through source reduction, recycling, and green waste composting. Collection of household hazardous waste (HHW), such as oil, paint, electronics, thermostats, batteries, and fluorescent tubes, helps protect the environment and public health by reducing illegal and improper HHW disposal. This indicator measures the tons of commercial and residential solid waste generated in San Bernardino County destined for disposal in-county and out-of-county. It also measures the pounds of HHW collected and the number of annual participants in the HHW program.
Solid waste disposal grew over the past three years, but tonnage remains below the 10-year high:
- In 2017, San Bernardino County residents generated and disposed approximately 1.76 million tons of waste.
- Waste disposal decreased 10% since 2008 but has increased over the past three years.
- Over the same period, San Bernardino County’s population grew an estimated 7%, suggesting that economic factors and diversion programs – not population growth – are the primary drivers of solid waste disposal trends.
- In 2017, San Bernardino County residents and businesses produced slightly less waste than California overall (0.9 tons per person in San Bernardino County compared to 1.0 tons per person in California).1
County Fire, which oversees HHW collection for the county, has expanded their outreach methods to encourage more residents to properly dispose of used oil, oil filters, and other hazardous wastes. In addition to mailers and newspaper ads, County Fire has started running radio ads and increasing their social media footprint. It appears to be working; participants have indicated they heard about the OFE’s through these media.
Household hazardous waste collection continues to increase:
- The number of households bringing HHW to regional collection centers grew in 2017/18, while the number of pounds collected remained the same as the previous year. Each participating household contributed an average of 59 pounds of HHW in 2017/18.
- On average, San Bernardino County’s per capita HHW disposal rate (1.7 pounds per person) was lower than California’s (2.9 pounds per person).2