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Zero Waste

The Zero Waste strategy in the City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) aims to reduce the amount of waste sent to local landfills. Methane—a greenhouse gas (GHG) that is about 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2)—is emitted when waste (primarily organic material) decomposes in landfills. Successful implementation of this strategy depends on the expansion of recycling and composting programs, in addition to participation from City residents and businesses to reduce waste and increase diversion.

Implementation of the Zero Waste strategy is estimated to reduce the City’s GHG emissions by 2,830 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) by 2020 and 9,216 MTCO2e by 2030. Explore the sections below to learn about the City’s planned and ongoing actions to achieve these goals.



ZW-1: Implement a Zero Waste Program

Divert Solid Waste

The City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from landfills by implementing a Zero Waste Program that promotes waste prevention, recycling, and diversion of organic waste. 

The City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) aims to divert 65% of Encinitas’ solid waste from the landfill by 2020 and 80% of total solid waste by 2030. This is equivalent to reducing our waste generation rates to 5.3 pounds per person per day (lbs/person/day) by 2020 and 3 lbs/person/day by 2030.  

If both goals are achieved, the CAP estimated this would result in a GHG reduction of approximately 2,830 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) and 9,216 MTCO2e, respectively.

To achieve the CAP's goals, the City works closely with EDCO, our contracted waste hauler. EDCO leverages green technologies, such as a state-of-the-art Resource Recovery Facility that properly sorts the City's co-mingled recycling waste. Most recently, in 2021, EDCO began collecting and processing food waste for recycling. To learn more, scroll to the Organic (Green Waste and Food Waste) Recycling section of this page.

The City supports at-home management of organic waste through educational workshops, such as an annual Zero Waste Fair, and offers subsidies to purchase compost and worm bins. The City frequently partners with local organizations such as the Solana Center for Environmental Innovation, I Love a Clean San Diego, BCK Programs, and several Encinitas schools for various outreach events and programming. 

Over the years, through periodic audits and observation, city staff has found that recyclable material can sometimes be misplaced in the trash and vice-versa. In 2021, to help improve and promote the City’s blue bin recycling program, the City contracted the Solana Center to create a how-to video and resource packet for multi-family home property managers to share with their residents. The goal of this initiative was to improve residents’ recycling habits and achieve a better understanding of how different types of materials should be disposed of.  

On May 13, 2021, the City’s Environmental Commission passed a recommendation to City Council to adopt an ordinance that would ban the sale, use, and distribution of lighter-than-air or helium balloons within City limits. City Council unanimously approved the ordinance (Ordinance 2022-01) in January 2022. The ordinance not only protects wildlife, but also reduces the amount of litter and waste generated within the City.   

To learn more about the City's Zero Waste programs, visit this website.

Last updated June 28, 2022

"Pounds Per Person Per Day" shows the approximate amount of waste each resident of Encinitas produces per day. 
lbs/person/dayPounds per Person per Day


ZW-1: Implement a Zero Waste Program

Waste Reduction

According to CalRecycle, the amount of waste generated by the City of Encinitas has fluctuated between 5.6 and 6.1 lbs/person/day since 2012. In 2021, the average Encinitan generated 5.6 lbs/person/day.

Last updated October 13, 2022


ZW-1: Implement a Zero Waste Program

Organic (Green Waste and Food Waste) Recycling

In early 2021, EDCO completed construction of an anaerobic digestion (AD) facility to serve the San Diego region, including Encinitas residents. The AD facility uses microorganisms to break down material into digestate and renewable natural gas (RNG) in an air-tight environment that eliminates the release of methane. Digestate is rich in nutrients and can be further processed into fertilizer for crops. RNG can also be used to fuel trucks or for energy, which displaces the need for fossil fuels.   

Curbside organics recycling became available to Encinitas residents in single-family homes in accordance with Senate Bill (SB) 1383 in June of 2021. SB 1383 requires all California residents and businesses to recycle organics beginning January 1, 2022. Food scraps and green waste generated in Encinitas are now collected and processed at EDCO's AD facility. Commercial enrollment—including multifamily properties and businesses—for organics collection began in the fall of 2021 and 100% participation was expected by July 2022.  

To comply with SB 1383, the City also updated its “Solid Waste and Construction and Demolition Debris Recycling” ordinances in 2021 (Ordinance 2022-16 and 2022-17), which includes a 5% increase in the percentage of construction debris that must be recycled. The ordinances became effective on January 1, 2022. Additionally, the City introduced a new ordinance in 2021, “Mandatory Organics Recycling and Edible Food Recovery” (Ordinance 2022-15), which also became effective January 1, 2022. Ordinance 2022-15 not only requires all generators to recycle organics, but also mandates that some edible food generators donate any leftover food products to local organizations. 

Last updated November 12, 2022


Divert Solid Waste

How You Can Help

Sort Your Kitchen Scraps for the Organics Recycling Program
Start a Compost or Worm Bin
Fight Food Waste in the Kitchen
Boost Your Waste Knowledge with EDCO’s Recycling Guide

Last updated June 28, 2022

Status of CAP Implementation