What is this indicator?

The City’s goals for solid waste are first to reduce waste generation and then to increase the percentage of waste that is diverted from landfills. The City looks at solid waste in terms of the total amount generated, the amount landfilled, and the amount diverted from landfills through conservation, recycling, composting, reuse, and waste-to-energy conversion. This indicator measures the net amount of solid waste generated by residents in tons.

Why is it important?

Over-consumption of non-local, non-renewable, and non-recyclable materials is unsustainable. There is opportunity for improvement through behavioral changes and strategic diversion practices. In addition, landfill space in and around Santa Monica has become increasingly scarce and expensive. Reducing solid waste generation puts less pressure on landfills and the environment, while saving money for the City and its residents. In order to achieve more sustainable waste management practices, a reduction in waste generation should be accompanied by sending fewer materials to the landfill and increasing reuse, recycling, and composting programs.

How are we doing?

In 2018, the total amount of waste generated by Santa Monica residents was 91,425 tons. The City aims to reach Zero Waste by 2030 (95% waste diversion). The amount of waste generated has been on a downward trend since 2005. As of 2018, 81% of solid waste was being diverted from landfills through recycling programs and organics collection. 
Over the years, the City of Santa Monica has been a leader in zero waste and held a high diversion rate. The City adopted a Zero Waste Strategic Plan (ZWP) in 2014 setting a course to reach the goal of Zero Waste (95% waste diversion) by 2030.
While the City has reduce its overall disposal since the adoption of the 2014 ZWP, it appears that the City is not on track to meet the milestone of 3.6 pounds per person per day target by 2020. The City has not yet implemented many of its zero waste strategies that were proposed in the 2014 ZWP. A dramatic decrease in disposal is required in order to meet the 1.1 pounds per person per day target by 2030. 

How can you help?

Sign-up for Recycling Collection or Organics Collection
  • Become an Eco-Ambassador
  • Avoid products that are excessively packaged.
  • Fix items rather than disposing and replacing when possible. Attend a Repair Cafe event. 

Row of Waste Hauling Trucks