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San Diegans Can Keep Burying Garbage for the Next 37 Years — Voice of San Diego
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San Diegans Can Keep Burying Garbage for the Next 37 Years — Voice of San Diego

San Diegans Can Keep Burying Garbage for the Next 37 Years — Voice of San Diego
Trash at Otay Landillf, Dec. 10, 2021 Photo by Adriana Heldiz

January was a sour month in San Diego

A new state law was passed that requires everyone to recycle their food waste. This means that all meat, bones, and veggie scraps, as well as citrus peels, must be placed in a green waste container at your home or restaurant. The new mandate from the state is expensive and cities have to deal with it.YouThe ratepayer.

Jesse Marx reports that sanitation workers at Republic Services staged an entire month-long strike. In his columnThe company was forced to close with the help of a contract provision. This provision would have required workers to receive health care if they did not resume trash collection. San Diegans couldn’t stop thinking about what they had already thrown away, but they were forced to do so when trash generated by major holidays piled up outside local dumpsters.

Zero waste advocates argue that San Diego is especially good at producing trash. One way to measure that is how long we leave our landfills growing before closing them.

According to the County of San Diegos Department of Environmental Health Otay Landfill, which is one of the largest landfills in the area, will close on February 25, 2030. That’s the state-authorized agency to regulate landfills.

People say “When is the landfill closing?” I always ask them how much they are going to throw away. Neil Mohr was the general manager of San Diego collection at Republic Services. He told me this during a tour that took place in early December.

Every five years, the county must review all landfill permits. This allows for a new assessment of how big the landfill needs to grow before it exceeds its maximum capacity limit. According to this, there is enough space for the region to dispose of trash until 2059. The new state law on food waste recycling is expected to extend the life span of the region’s landfills. The county estimates that 39% of the trash we throw out in the region is organic and therefore recyclable.

San Diego region's landfill capacity
Life expectancy of San Diego’s landfills according to a 2017 survey by the County of San Diego.

However, landfills can grow beyond their permit limit. According to the county report, Miramar landfill will reach its maximum capacity in 2030. But, in 2019, the city Announcement to extend the life of this landfillYou can allow waste to pile up 25 feet more into the air.

Jessica Toth, a Zero Waste Advocate at the Solana Center for Environmental Innovation, finds this irritating.

Toth stated, “I don’t want to see us sitting additional capacity (at landfills), because that allows us keep dumping there.”

Sycamore Landfill, which is also owned and managed by Republic Services, will be applying for two life extensions. This extension will be based on the amount of waste it received. It is expected to close in 2054.

Well have a more up-to-date outlook on the region’s waste generation this summer, when the countys next five-year waste management report is due to the state.

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