City report says San Diegans need to recycle more

SAN DIEGO - San Diego residents are not recycling enough of their refuse, according to a report released Tuesday by the city's Environmental Services Department.

The report said the city's overall recycling rate -- the amount of yard waste, plastic, bottles and newspaper that's separated from other trash -- was 68 percent between Jan. 1 and March 15.

The portion collected from the green and blue curbside bins in residential areas, however, was just 24 percent, the department reported.

Residents put 17 percent of their waste in the blue recycling can and 7 percent into the green vegetation container.

The department compared the overall weight of refuse collected to the weight of materials collected in recycling bins.

"When you take commercial, business and construction debris figures out of the disposal equation, we end up with low numbers in our residential communities," said Ken Prue, the city's recycling chief. "This shows that we clearly need a better recycling effort by our residents."

The top neighborhoods for recycling included a Point Loma section known as the Wooded Area, where 45.3 percent of garbage was recycled; Sunset Cliffs, where 45 percent was recycled; and La Playa, near the Navy submarine base, where the rate was 41.4 percent, according to Andrea Altman, a recycling specialist with the city.

She said areas with the lowest recycling rates were the Midway District, a 1.5 percent rate; the Tijuana River Valley, with 4.8 percent rate; and Logan Heights, with 5.1 percent rate.

Midway and Logan Heights are among San Diego neighborhoods without curbside green waste pickup.

The Environmental Services Department said it is planning to increase outreach to residential curbside collection customers. The city needs to meet a state-mandated 75 percent overall recycling rate by 2020.

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