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Recycling Ordinance

Why Recycle?

Recycling is the law. The passing of the City of San Diego recycling ordinance has required recycling at many residential and commercial facilities.

Recycling saves money. Implementing a recycling program can significantly lower trash bills by reducing trash pick-ups. For example: With an average cost of $21.50 per trash dumpster pick-up and $10.50 per recycling dumpster pick-up, if a business or apartment complex with 10 trash dumpsters serviced three times a week replaced 5 of the trash dumpsters with recycling dumpsters, the waste disposal bill would decrease by $165 per week - an annual savings of approximately $8,570.

Services Number of 3-Cubic Yard Trash Dumpsters Frequency of trash services/week Number of 3-Cubic Yard Recycling Dumpsters Frequency of recycling services/week Total Weekly Cost Total Monthly Cost
Trash Only 10 3 0 0 $645 $2,793
Implementing a Recycling Program
Trash and Recycling 5 3 5 3 $480 $2,078

Recycling helps the City meet State mandates. State law requires local governments to reduce waste disposed in landfills by 50%. In 2009, the last year that data is available, the City of San Diego achieved 66% diversion. While San Diegans are doing a great job, this rate must be maintained, and even exceeded... every year.

Recycling helps extend the life of the Miramar Landfill. Approximately two-thirds of all waste entering the Landfill is recyclable. Instead of taking up precious landfill space, recyclable materials can be used for new products. With the the Landfill forecasted to be filled to capacity and closed in 2022, the City of San Diego will have to find alternative disposal options. This could raise the cost of landfill disposal for everyone in San Diego.

Recycling saves valuable natural resources. Making products from recycled materials uses less energy and water, and pollutes less than making products from virgin materials. For example:

Photo of Glass Bottles
Recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to light up a 100 watt bulb for 4 hours.
Photo of Plastic Bottles
By recycling every plastic bottle in the nation approximately two billion tons of plastic would be diverted from landfills.
Photo of Mail
Recycling 1 ton of paper saves about 17 trees which absorb 250 lbs. of carbon dioxide from the air.

Recycling Reduces Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions. Landfills and deforestation account for 25 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions every year. By "reducing, reusing and recycling," GHG emissions will significantly decrease. For example:

Photo of Cardboard Recycling
  • If all residents and businesses in San Diego recycled all cardboard waste generated in one year, we could reduce GHG emissions equivalent to taking approximately 41,500 cars off the road for one year!