Fast approaching its second year in operation, Irvine's curbside-recycling program has collected enough old newspapers to save 95,000 trees this year, officials said.
Irvine Recycles, which enjoys widespread support among Irvine residents, collected more than 5,500 tons of recyclable waste this fiscal year. According to a study released this week, every ton of newspaper collected saves 17 trees 35 feet tall. Residents place glass, certain plastics, aluminum and newspapers in stacking bins, which are collected outside their homes each week.
City officials say that 71% of the homeowners participate in the recycling program.
"Our main goal wasn't financial, it was environmental," said MaryAnne Hetherington-Wysard, management analyst for the program. "It might be costing us a bit more to recycle these products, but we are simply diverting dumping in Coyote Canyon dump."
That dump, which serves all of southern Orange County, is estimated to be nearing capacity. City officials hope that other cities will follow their lead and adopt similar recycling programs. Officials from Laguna Beach, Anaheim and Los Angeles have already inquired about the Irvine program, officials said..
At Tuesday night's City Council meeting, Hetherington-Wysard announced plans to step up promotion of the program to increase response. A six-minute video on how the system works, designed to persuade other cities to follow suit, was shown to the council.