University City residents will become the first San Diegans to recycle parts of their trash in a pilot program that aims at reducing the garbage going into the overburdened Miramar landfill.
Recycling bins for newspapers, cans and glass were distributed to 3,500 University City households over the weekend, and the city’s trash crews will begin picking up recyclables there Oct. 28. After that, recyclables will be collected on regular Friday pickup days.
The city’s volunteer recycling program will expand to Oak Park in January, North City West in March and Point Loma in May, involving more than 15,500 of the city’s 300,000 households.
Ellyn Hae, city recycling specialist, said residents in the affected neighborhoods will be asked to collect newsprint, cans and glass in three separate containers for curbside pickup on trash collection days.
Recycling is important, Hae said, because the Miramar landfill will be full by 1992 unless the amount of trash dumped there is drastically reduced.
Ernie Anderson, deputy director of the city’s refuse collection division and director of the recycling project, said the first phase of recycling will cost the city about $500,000 for pickup vehicles and containers.
“We don’t know yet what tonnage we can expect” from the voluntary recycling program, Anderson said, but the aim is to reach the City Council’s goal of a 25% reduction in landfill dumping by mid-l992.
Anderson said city representatives will go door to door in the University City area, informing residents of the rules and promoting the program.
Cans, both tin and aluminum, and glass containers should be rinsed out and have labels removed to increase their value, he said. The city will hire a marketing director to sell the recycled materials to a private recycling firm, he explained, partly paying for the recycling program.
The county Board of Supervisors, faced with the closing of its five landfills by the late 1990s, has approved a more ambitious program aimed at recycling more than 30% of the 3.6 million tons of trash produced annually by 1992.
Richard Anthony, county solid-waste program manager and head of the resource recovery unit, explained that the county does not operate a trash collection system but has started voluntary recycling “buy-back” centers at two of its five landfill sites. The program will be expanded if the public responds, Anthony said.
The county has also received a grant of nearly $17,000 from the state Department of Conservation to provide incentives to cities to initiate recycling and to finance educational programs in the county’s elementary schools.
City recycling programs are now operating in Del Mar, Solana Beach and Encinitas, Anthony said. Most of the county’s other cities are organizing similar programs, he said.