Solid Waste Reduction
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Solid waste results in greenhouse gas (GHG) production in two ways. First, on it’s way to becoming a waste, there is embodied energy from the materials manufacture, transportation, use, and disposal. Then, as it decomposes in a landfill it produces the GHG methane. In addition to directly creating GHG, not reusing or recycling waste results in the extraction of more natural resources and manufacture and transportation of more new products.
What's Being Done
- The City-County Solid Waste Management Authority (SWMA) recycles solid waste materials.
- The City collects recycled materials, 3,400 tons in 2006 or about 4% of the solid waste then entered the landfill.
Actions Included in the Plan
- Conduct an Efficiency Analysis of the City and regional waste stream and adopt a Zero Waste ordinance that recognizes the viability of gradual replacement of landfills with sustainable enterprises that create local jobs and local economic development.
- Aggressively increase business recycling efforts, including, but not limited to, providing incentives to businesses and other organizations and facilities that reduce the volume of wasted resources from their facility by set percentages that increase over time.
- Establish new City purchasing policies, and other City operations, and propose changes that would reduce waste and embodied energy, reduce GHG emissions, provide preferences for vendors that reduce waste and pollution, and provide preferences for vendors that have “Take Back” programs to reduce waste. (See Section 2, City Operations)
- Work with the construction and demolition industries to develop initiatives for Zero Waste.
- Investigate best uses for separated non-engineered lumber to include shredding by the City tub grinder.
- Reject construction waste that is divertible as landfill material at the transfer station. Require that such loads be sorted and recycled.
- Encourage the use of natural local construction materials that create few wasted resources.
- Divert re-use items at transfer station.
- Switch fuels for solid waste vehicles and transfer station and landfill equipment such as the tub grinder and chippers from diesel and gasoline to bio-diesel or other fuel with less GHG emissions when the production of those fuels does not negatively impact food production. For transfer station and landfill equipment, such a switch should be completed by 2012 with possible interim goals to mixed fuels by 2009. The specific goals for vehicles are presented in Section 6, Transportation.
- Prepare and conduct on-going outreach and education as per the Core Values for education as described in section 11, Education and Outreach, of this Plan to strive to Zero Waste including:
- Development of a brochure for consumer purchasing decisions by 2008;
- Increase composting, and recycling participation with a goal of 85% participation rate of city residents and businesses by 2010 and a reduction in the weight of waste of 75% of the 2003 baseline by 2015;
- Encourage people to reuse bags or containers.
- Seek funding to develop a reusable bag, with the option of stores adding their logo, along with a “Sustainable Santa Fe” logo, to encourage bag reuse. This can be combined with an ordinance restricting free bag distribution from stores.
- Explore opportunities to minimize packaging.
- Explore opportunities to sell carbon offsets (credits) gained by recycling and use the proceeds to further recycling efforts.
- Seek grant funds to conduct a landfill gas exfiltration analysis of the City’s landfills including an evaluation of any potential reuse or remediation.
- Expand the recycling program to add safe compostable food wastes.
- Increase Household Hazardous Waste collection to once per quarter.
- Provide for curbside collection of electronics waste (E-waste)
- Santa Fe should follow through with the “Pay as you throw” system to increase recycling participation.
- Explore the feasibility of implementing a green waste collection program for both residential and commercial customers.
- Review operations at the sanitary wastewater treatment plant to ensure optimal aerobic treatment.