Zero waste

The City’s Solid Waste Management Department (SWMD) developed a Recycling and Resource Recovery Plan that outlines a vision for zero waste. It offers strategies and actions to improve waste reduction and recycling programs through education and outreach, incentives and regulatory changes. According to SWMD, an average single-family household in San Antonio generates about eight pounds of waste every day.

Recycling rates have increased so that, despite population growth, we are now sending less waste to landfills. After instituting automated recycling services and other improvements to make recycling more convenient for residents, household recycling increased almost four-fold, to 29% of the residential waste stream by 2014. The City’s goal is to increase the single-family residential recycling rate to 60% by 2025. Since the adoption of the Recycling and Resource Recovery Plan in 2010, the Department has reduced annual landfill waste from 444,000 tons to 362,000 tons, an 18% reduction.

To move closer to fulfilling the zero waste vision, the City can establish regulations to minimize waste generation through effective waste reduction, reuse and recycling. We can also take the lead by prioritizing use of as many recycled materials as possible for all City facilities and programs.