February 2011 home page

  Getting to Zero
Dan Nore | 25th StreetBeach

Getting to Zero | Waste Competition Wins


Per Capita Solid Waste Generation: Del Mar and Ogther Coastal Cities 2009. 


News Flash 8/27/2010 - San Francisco achieves 77% landfill diversion rates, surpassing the goal of 75% landfill diversion by 2010 and setting a national recycling rate record as the highest of any city in the United States. Having beat their 75% goal, San Francisco is now scheming to get to zero waste by 2020. So what is the Del Mar community trash profile and what waste reduction goals should Del Mar establish? How close to zero can we go?

PowerPoint Presentation

Nancy Strauss from Fairgrounds Zero Waste approach Del Mar Fairgrounds

click here

The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) reported that Del Mar sent 8,807 tons of solid waste to local landfills in 2009. This translates to 10.5 pounds of trash per resident per day. Using CalRecyle data and population targets, Del Mar can boast a 74% landfill diversion rate for 2009. Great accomplishment for a small city but I think we can and should do more as a community.

Multiple factors allowed Del Mar to achieve this stellar landfill diversion rate. First, this is one instance where Del Mar has benefited from our close attachment to the Fairgrounds. CalRecycle statistics include Fairgrounds solid waste activities in our community totals. The Fairgrounds has an award-winning solid waste program that includes: bans on non-recyclable materials; aggressive recycling programs; and composting of organic materials. The 22nd DAA Board of Directors has officially embraced a goal of “zero waste .”

The weak economy also led to a decrease in solid waste generation. Reduced remodeling and new construction generated less demolition and construction waste. Slower commercial activity and vacant space means less trash. Finally, I think there is growing community awareness of the importance of recycling and a change in our purchasing habits.

Del Mar needs to establish a solid waste reduction goal that reflects community activity separate from the Fairgrounds. Separating out the Fairgrounds leaves us with 7,135 tons of trash in 2009, or 8.5 daily pounds per resident. An average of 2009 activity for eight coastal cities suggests that 5.5 pounds is a reasonable goal.

We can negotiate a new waste management contract that has “Pay-As-You-Throw” rate structure and performance clauses for achieving solid waste reduction goals. We can update our solid waste ordinance and include enforceable Construction and Demolition provisions. We can collaborate with Del Mar businesses and implement a flexible commercial recycling program that accommodates our unique village constraints.

Finally, we can catch-up with leaders such as San Francisco and the Fairgrounds. San Francisco residents generate only 3 pounds of trash per day and have a zero waste goal. Composting is an integral component of their programs and zero waste goals. Let’s lend a community voice to support regional community composting and innovative waste to energy programs.

The 28 foot Vermitech Worm Bin handles approximately 250 lbs of kitchen scraps per week during the annual Thoroughbred racing season. The worm castings will be used in the gardens on the Fairgrounds. Worm castings are like time-released fertilizer and help plants grow strong. The worms “Eisenia Fetida” are in a Vermitech bin which contains a fan for temperature control, lighting and a shaving bar that automatically slides across the bottom of the material and shaves off the vermicompost for collection. Photo courtesy Nancy Strauss, Resource Conservation Coordinator, Del Mar Fairgrounds.    Courtesy Nancy Strauss.


Trash at the Fairgrounds.  Courtesy Nancy Strauss.


Equinox-dashboard2011 pg28 Solid Waste.pdf.    Courtesy Nancy Strauss.

The full page in pdf format


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