About Environmental Services

The Environmental Services Department was established by the San Diego City Council in 1988 to protect the environment and to provide all San Diego residents with properly disposed municipal solid waste, along with an environment free of litter and illegal dumping.

The department's Collection Services Division has provided City refuse pickup for 90 years and curbside recycling and yard waste collection for two decades.

The department pursues waste reduction and recycling; composting and environmentally-sound landfill management to meet the City of San Diego's long-term waste disposal needs. In addition, Environmental Services oversees the City's management of energy, pursues innovative energy independence goals and works to advance more sustainable practices within the City organization and the community.

Photo of Energy Star Logo

The Ridgehaven "green building," one of America's most resource efficient buildings, is home to the Environmental Services Department. Ridgehaven holds the nation's first Energy Star label for buildings awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1999. Green building features include energy savings, resource conservation, a healthy workplace, and operational savings.

The department continues to explore means of improving waste diversion in San Diego. Less material generated translates into an extended life for the City's Miramar Landfill, which will likely be filled to capacity and close by 2030.

The Environmental Services Department is organized into three operational divisions, and the Office of the Director:

  • Photo of trash truckCollection Services provides weekly refuse and every-other-week recyclables and yard waste collection service to homes throughout the City of San Diego, and places and services street litter bins in commercial districts throughout the city. The Collection Services Division was named "Fleet of the Year" by Fleet Owner Magazine in 2005. The division is also the only MSW Collection operation, public or private, to have drivers named ESI Sanitation Driver of the Year, four times.
  • Waste Reduction and Disposal Division
    Logo of San Diego Recycling Works, Why Waste a Good Thing? develops and implements the City's solid waste reduction and diversion programs, directs disposal operations at the City's Miramar Landfill, manages the City's inactive landfill sites, collects landfill fees and enforces and supports the City's solid waste codes. The Waste Reduction and Disposal Division includes:
    • Waste Reduction section that manages and implements recycling programs, environmentally-friendly procurement, operations programs and contracts, education and outreach for the residential, business and government sectors.
    • Photo of a trash dozerRefuse Disposal section that manages the disposal of non-recyclable solid waste at the Miramar Landfill; diverts yard waste and wood waste from the Landfill and transforms it into mulch, compost and other useful products; provides ongoing revegetation of native species to restore the landfill back to a natural state; manages all inactive City landfill sites.
    • Fee Booth Operations section that is responsible for fee collection operations, collects revenue associated with the disposal and recycling of material delivered to the Miramar Landfill; processes data generated while collecting the revenue, produces reports as needed and enforces the City's codes in the landfill. The revenues are collected per the Fee Schedule and Regulations document.
    • Franchise Administration section that manages the administration of franchise agreements, includes management of revenues associated with all accounts payable and receivable; serves as primary contact for City Council and City Management regarding internal and external franchise administration issues.
    • Solid Waste Code Enforcement Program section responsible for enforcing compliance with State and Federal regulations and City Municipal Codes relating to solid waste; assisting community groups and volunteers organizing clean up/recycling events; investigating illegal dumping complaints.
    • Field Operations section that removes illegally dumped materials from the public right-of-way; conducts community clean ups; collects dead animals; and provides support to other City departments.
  • Photo of a fluorescent bulbEnergy, Sustainability & Environmental Protection Division develops and manages programs relating to energy use, sustainability, climate change and hazardous and universal wastes. The Division includes:
    • Energy section that oversees and directs all activities involving reduction of energy use in City facilities; develops policies to promote energy conservation and independence; provides energy management information to the public; explores use of renewable energy technology.
    • Photo of Sustainability LogoSustainability section that provides education and outreach programs to the community, including the Green Action program to local high schools; manages an award-winning Community Sustainability Program; and tracks City indicators to measure adherence to the Climate Protection Action Plan.
    • An Environmental Protection section that protects public health and the environment in the San Diego region for today's residents and for future generations by providing citywide training and technical expertise for managing hazardous waste at City facilities; ensures regulatory compliance with underground and aboveground petroleum storage tanks at City facilities; resolves lead and asbestos contamination within City facilities; inspects and enforces solid waste disposal regulations at the City's Miramar Landfill and operates the City's only Household Hazardous Waste Transfer Facility.
  • The Office of the Director oversees the department's delivery of quality environmental programs through administrative and regulatory support, community outreach and education, fiscal management, facility maintenance, human resource and organizational development, information systems management, customer service and safety programs focusing on accident and injury prevention.