The state of waste and trash is constantly changing. We live in an environment with a finite amount of resources. The call has never been greater to make sustainable choices that benefit our environment now and into the future. The city has spent the last few years creating and improving green programs that raise awareness and provide the tools and resources for residents and businesses to live greener lives. Thankfully, you — our Recycle Heroes — have stepped up by recycling right. However, we must be prepared to do even more to meet the changes and challenges on the horizon.
Residents recently submitted their feedback through an online community survey regarding the city’s residential trash and recycling services. We received an overwhelming number of responses, gauged resident input with their current service and learned what communication vehicles are used most to receive information. Thanks to your community input, we are pleased to say that we have identified a few areas of interest that will guide our efforts to improve existing programs.
As part of a statewide plan to improve waste processing, reduce greenhouse emissions and reduce food waste, Senate Bill 1383 was signed into California law. The bill, referred to as the Short-Lived Climate Pollutions Act, aims to implement correct organic waste disposal and rescue edible food for consumption. Reducing short-lived climate pollutants like organic waste will have a swift impact on the climate crisis. But how do these actions affect Santa Clarita residents and business owners?
In the next few years, the city of Santa Clarita will roll out a residential organic food waste recycling program. While the program is still being developed best to meet the needs of the state and our community, the program will give residents the opportunity to separate their food scraps, leftover food and spoiled food in curbside containers to be processed into compost or mulch products.
SB1383 also adopted statewide standardized colors for garbage, recycling and organic waste carts. Single-family residents will start to see existing cart colors transition to the new statewide color scheme. The new colors will include black for regular garbage, blue for recycling and green for organic waste, including green waste, yard waste and food waste. These colors may be identified in the entire cart or the lid only. So be prepared to check the lid! Cart color transitions have already begun and will continue to take place through attrition or new account set-ups until all Santa Clarita residents have transitioned to the current color scheme.
Business owners can also join the dozens of businesses that have already signed up for the city’s organic waste recycling program through their commercial waste hauler. By 2022, all businesses generating waste are required to have a program in place to either donate leftover food, recycle inedible food waste, compost on-site, obtain a waiver or a combination of any of these processes to reduce the organic waste going to the landfill.
Although there will be these changes over the next few years in how we interact and dispose of our waste, I’m confident that our residents and businesses will continue their resilience to make the necessary changes to meet the demand for more sustainable action. This will result in all of us doing our part to reduce landfill waste and reuse or recycle as many materials as possible, producing an even greener Santa Clarita.
We look forward to sharing more information as it becomes available, and don’t forget to visit our website GreenSantaClarita.com for more information about green events, tips and resources. You can also connect with us on our Facebook page @GreenSantaClarita.
Cameron Smyth is a member of Santa Clarita’s City Council and can be reached at [email protected].