Solid Waste and Household Hazardous Waste

Solid Waste Disposal Reaches 10-Year High; Pandemic Contributes to Lower HHW Collections.

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 set an ambitious goal of diverting 75% of waste away from landfills by 2020 through source reduction, recycling, and green waste composting.1 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 and Household Hazardous Waste


Solid waste disposal has grown steadily since 2014, reaching a 10-year high in 2019. San Bernardino County residents generated and disposed approximately 1.95 million tons of waste in 2019 – an increase of 25% since 2010. Over the same period, San Bernardino County’s population grew an estimated 6%. While population growth can have some impact on disposal trends, economic factors and waste diversion programs are the primary drivers behind the amount of waste disposed.

The number of households bringing HHW to regional collection centers in 2019/20 was substantially less than the prior year, due in large part to the short-term closure of several HHW collection sites as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite this exceptional year, participation remained higher than 10 years ago. The number of HHW pounds collected in 2019/20 was down somewhat, likely due to collection site closures and fewer participants. However, despite the drop in participation, the average amount each participating household contributed – 58 pounds – remained high. This was the same amount contributed per participating household in 2018/19.


Solid Waste Generated for Disposal Compared to Population Growth in San Bernardino County, 2010-2019

Note: Solid waste generated for disposal includes cities and unincorporated areas. Sources: San Bernardino County Department of Public Works; California Department of Finance, Table E-2 (


Household Hazardous Waste Program Participation and Pounds of Waste Collected in San Bernardino County, 2011-2020

Note: Chart includes San Bernardino County unincorporated areas and all cities except Fontana.

Source: San Bernardino County Fire Department


In 2019, 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 In terms of HHW, San Bernardino County’s per capita HHW collection rate (1.5 pounds per person) was lower than California’s (3.3 pounds per person).2

Recycling Program Promotes Sustainable County

The County Solid Waste Management Division of the Public Works Department offers a program called the Comprehensive Disposal Site Diversion Program (CDSDP) at each one of the County’s five regional landfills and at some of the nine transfer stations. The County’s CDSDP program removes materials from select loads for reuse or recycle. The objective of this program is to increase recycling efforts in order to meet the waste reduction goals set by Assembly Bill 939 (AB 939), which requires a 50% diversion of municipal solid waste away from disposal. During 2019, the CDSDP prevented 145,839 tons of waste from being disposed at San Bernardino County disposal facilities. The removal of waste from the waste stream prevented the production of over 428,766 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, which is the equivalent of removing 92,632 passenger vehicles from roadways for one year. This program helped the county reach its AB 939 diversion goals, with a 59 % diversion rate attained in 2019. Since its inception in 2008, the CDSDP has diverted over 1.43 million tons of materials.

Source: San Bernardino County Solid Waste Management Division

1California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), Disposal Reporting System (DRS), Multi-Year Countywide Origin Summary, and Statewide Disposal, Transformation, Import, Export and ADC Disposal Summary; California Department of Finance, Report E-2 (July population estimates). 2Based on 2017/18 data from CalRecycle, Household Hazardous Waste Form 303 Collection Information, as provided by San Bernardino County Fire Department and retrieved from; California Department of Finance, Report E-5 (January population estimates).