Waste Reduction

When was the last time you really thought about where that half eaten sandwich or coffee cup goes after you toss it in the trash? Or wondered where your trash goes after you take your black bin to the curb? In Long Beach, most trash is taken to the Southeast Resource Recovery Center (SERRF) to be incinerated and converted to electricity. The residue from this process is taken to landfills to be used as road base. The remainder of our trash is taken to Puente Hills Landfill in Whittier.

Each year, the residents and businesses in Long Beach throw away approximately 368,000 tons of residential, commercial, and industrial waste. Thatís 1,494 pounds for each man, woman, and child in Long Beach!

To help dispose of all this trash, the City of Long Beach has an extensive recycling program that also helps reduce the amount of trash we send to SERRF and landfills. The city also enacted an ordinance in 2007 that requires that certain construction and demolition projects recycle at least 60% of the waste generated. These efforts, combined with that of SERRF, have given Long Beach one of the highest waste diversion rates in the nation. The 2006 waste diversion rate of 69% was submitted to the California Integrated Waste Management Board, well surpassing the State mandated diversion rate of 50%.

However, as our Cityís population grows and landfill space fills up and we recognize the effects that trash, toxic materials, and litter have on our environment and quality of life, it becomes more and more important for our City to effectively manage our own waste by reusing, recycling, and disposing in the most environmentally friendly way possible.

Although it is very important to properly dispose of your trash and recycle, compost, or reuse materials, the best way to reduce the amount of trash you throw away is to not produce it at all. This means being more conscious of your daily activities and make choices to reduce waste, like donating old clothes to charity, taking a reusable bag to the grocery store, printing on both sides of the paper, and using reusable dishware instead of paper or plastic.

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