What is this indicator?

 The City looks at solid waste in terms of the total amount generated, the amount landfilled, and the amount diverted from landfills. Waste diversion is calculated by the percent of the City's waste that has been reused, composted, or converted into energy rather than sent to a landfill. 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.

Why is this important?

A significant portion of disposed solid waste can be diverted from landfills through behavioral changes and municipal action. In addition, landfill space in and around Santa Monica has become scarce and expensive. A higher diversion target encourages a shift to more sustainable resource use and 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 and reduce the amount of waste landfilled, an increase in waste diversion should be accompanied by a reduction in per capita waste generation.

How are we doing?

As of 2018, 81% of solid waste was being diverted from landfills. 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 a goal of Zero Waste (95% diversion) by 2030.
While the City has reduced 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 we help?

  • Become an Eco Ambassador
  • Participate in the Citywide Yard Sale (September)
  • Shop using reusable bags.
  • Avoid products that are excessively packaged.
  • Fix items rather than disposing and replacing when possible.