COUNTYWIDE : Recycling Program Due at County Parks

To set an example for the rest of the county, the Board of Supervisors today is expected to approve a comprehensive recycling program at all county parks.

The plan, which will be launched next month if approved, calls for setting up receptacles at each of the county’s 13 parks so that the 6.5 million people who visit each year can separate aluminum cans, glass bottles, plastic and paper products.

The county will then allow nonprofit groups--as yet to be selected--to haul off the recyclables and keep proceeds from any sales.

In addition, county workers will gather all “green wastes"--grass clippings and brush and tree trimmings--into a compost heap to use for park mulching and erosion control.

Tim Miller, the county’s manager of regional parks, said the program will cost $22,000 the first year, mostly to pay for educational materials to promote the plan within the parks and for schools and advertisements. In future years, the program is expected to cost about $8,000.


However, Miller said, the county would save money because it won’t have to pay to haul off the material now being used as mulch, and the recycled trash will not take up any room at county landfills.

County officials don’t have any illusions that they will turn every park and beach-goer into a recycler, or even that all trash in county parks and beaches will be completely and neatly separated.

“Our No. 1 goal is the educational impact of this program on the general public,” Miller said. “At least, the message is before them that the park system is behind the recycling program. We’ll be saying to them in all our posters and stickers, ‘Don’t throw away a good thing.’ ”

Miller said a pilot-recycling program has been in place at the Ralph B. Clark Regional Park in North County for eight months. The mulch that has been produced from collecting the parks’ green waste has meant a cost savings for fertilizer and mulch, he added.

“The mulch you get is as good as any you can get at a nursery,” he said. “It’s beautiful stuff.”