San Diegans tossing out less trash

Statistics compiled by Equinox Center

SAN DIEGO - San Diegans are piling up less trash in their garbage bins, according to the research group Equinox Center.

Just-released numbers from the group show the trash amounts are shrinking slightly but remain high when compared to the rest of the state. The report is based on the most recently released data from 2012.

On the average, every person now disposes of five pounds of trash every day, down from 5.33 lbs the year before. That number is more than Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties

The question is: Why?

Among the possible factors -- the numbers include commercial and construction waste, a common sight in the San Diego area.

Less aggressive recycling programs could also play a role.

"In San Diego, we have recycling every other week. In some other areas, they have it every week," said Lani Lutar, executive director of Equinox Center.

Most of what isn't recycled ends up at the Miramar Landfill.

So where does the trash come from?

Locally, the biggest trash producers by city:

-- Del Mar: Counting trash at the Fairgrounds, at more than 11 pounds per person. That was down almost a pound from the year before.

-- Coronado: Counting trash from the Navy base, comes in at more than nine pounds per person, per day. That was down more than a pound and a half from the year before.

-- Imperial Beach and La Mesa are producing the least: Just under three pounds per person in each city.

As the economy recovers, the trash numbers are expected to get bigger, along with the trash piles at the landfill, which is expected to fill up in the next decade.

Reducing our trash or recycling more could delay the cost of creating a new landfill or having to send our trash to other areas.

"That ends up saving taxpayers a lot of money ... and it's beneficial for the environment," said Lutar.

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