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As Miramar Landfill Fills Up, San Diego City Council To Consider Zero Waste Initiative

Bulldozers push around piles of trash at San Diego's Miramar Landfill.
Katie Orr
Bulldozers push around piles of trash at San Diego's Miramar Landfill.

A plan to reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills in San Diego, and eventually stop it altogether, will be presented to the City Council's Natural Resources and Culture Committee on Wednesday.

City staff are proposing the zero waste initiative because the Miramar Landfill is running out of space, and because the state is requiring that 75 percent of waste be diverted from landfills by 2020. The diversion rate in San Diego in 2012 was 68 percent -- almost unchanged over three years, according to city documents.

The plan would also have the city divert all waste from landfills by 2040 through conservation, recycling and composting.


In California, 15 cities and several large corporations have zero waste policies, according to a staff report.

The report proposes a multi-pronged approach, including expanding recycling of yard waste, developing infrastructure to divert food waste, developing regulations to support the initiative and changing funding resources for recycling programs.

The city's Environmental Services Department says the Miramar Landfill is slated to close in 2022, though increased diversion could keep the facility operating longer.

Council members will be asked to approve the objectives of the initiative. City staff would develop the plan in detail and bring it back to the committee next spring.

The committee Wednesday is also scheduled to receive an update on planning for the yearlong celebration of the centennial of Balboa Park, and an update on development of a plan to deal with climate change.