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Contact Pacific Southwest Waste Program

Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

California 50% Solid Waste Reduction Achieved!

For More Information

Visit the Zero Waste California program and the California Integrated Waste Management Board website  Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

Learn about and join U.S. EPA's WasteWise program

Contact Timonie Hood (hood.timonie@epa.gov) 415-972-3282

The numbers are in and California now diverts more than half of the 88 million tons of municipal solid waste that it generates yearly. As the state commemorates this achievement, satisfying a legislative mandate created by the Integrated Waste Management Act of 1989, the U.S. EPA has also joined the celebration.

"We at the EPA want to thank the cities, counties, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and Californians" said Jeff Scott, Waste Management Division director for the Pacific Southwest region. "Their continuing efforts have made this notable achievement possible." Scott presented an award to the state of California in February to recognize its leadership in setting and reaching its goal.

This achievement comes after more than a decade of efforts to promote recycling and decrease waste. In 1990, residents and workplaces in California routinely landfilled 90 percent of their garbage. But by throwing away less and reusing a recycling more, cities and counties across the state reduced the waste they sent to landfills, with some jurisdictions reaching greater than 70 percent diversion.

Jeff Scott presents award to representatives of the State of California

Jeff Scott, Waste Management Division director for U.S. EPA's Pacific Southwest region, presents an award to the state of California for achieving 50 percent statewide solid waste diversion from landfill disposal. (L-R: Margo Reid Brown, California Integrated Waste Management Board Chair; Jeff Scott; and Wesley Chesbro and Rosalie Mulé, California Integrated Waste Management Board Members).

Participation in partnerships, like U.S. EPA's national waste reduction partnership, WasteWise, also helped California achieve a recycling rate of 52 percent last year. The WasteWise program counts more than 200 partners in California alone, more than double the number in any other state.

Children recycling cans

Children help reduce waste by recycling cans

California has now adopted a goal of zero waste in partnership with local government, industry, and the public. The state hopes to achieve this goal by promoting market development and recycled product procurement, by providing recycled purchase opportunities, and by continuing to research new and sustainable technologies.

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