Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Every year, Americans generate about 258 million tons of trash in the form of food, packaging, appliances, and more. While we’re starting to do better with recycling and composting, more than 65% of the trash we generate ends up in landfills and incinerators, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Landfill waste contributes to GHGs on a community scale. The most effective way to stop this trend is by reducing the amount of materials we use (or don’t use), which reduces the amount of waste that we create.
In 2019, the City of Milpitas generated over 60,000 tons of landfilled waste. Despite a growing population and due to recycling and composting efforts of our residents and businesses, the City exceeded the State target of 75% waste diversion by 2020.
Waste Diversion Shows
The high diversion rates we achieve in Milpitas are illustrated further by the amount of waste that we send for disposal per capita. Some of this reduction is due to increased recycling and some is from diverting more material to composting and animal feed production. Some of this improvement could also be due to Milpitas residents finding ways to create less waste to begin with.
New Use for Food Scraps
Milpitas is leading the way by taking food waste and turning it into animal feed or soil amendment. This breakthrough process keeps the waste and carbon out of landfills, where it turns into methane. Instead, we're creating stable soil organic matter that, when used in landscaping, reduces the need for watering and fertilizer.
Building soil health throughout our community by increasing soil organic matter can help vegetation in our area resist drought pressure and may reduce fire risk during dry conditions. That's a win for both climate mitigation and adaptation!
One way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from solid waste is to increase the amount of waste that is diverted from landfills to produce recycled or reusable materials, like compost. Composting also reduces the cost of yard trimmings collection and processing, and represents a fun family/community environmental education tool.
In 2019, Milpitas residents composted a total of 6,509 tons of material; 1,904 tons more than in 2015!
How You Can Help
Send Us Your Feedback
Ready to share your thoughts on how we improve performance in Reducing Waste? Be sure to visit our Action Plan Feedback page and add your opinions across all the plan sectors.
How You Can Help
Sending different types of waste to the right place helps us meet our waste reduction targets as well as lower costs for Sanitation services.