The South Coast Transfer Station, more commonly known as the “city dump,” has changed its name to the South Coast Recycling and Transfer Station to reflect the growing percentage of waste that the facility recycles.

“We decided to change the name to emphasize the fact that when people bring us trash, we try to recycle as much as possible,” said Carlyle Johnston, senior program specialist for the Solid Waste and Utilities Division of the Santa Barbara County Dept. of Public Works. “Most people don’t realize we recycle over 60 percent of the trash people bring in – we don’t just throw it into a big hole.”

Johnston said when a customer brings in garbage to the transfer facility, located on 4430 Calle Real in Santa Barbara, workers hand-separate plastics, wood, paper products, green waste, organics and other recyclable materials for reuse. The plastics are shipped to a facility in Ventura where they are melted down, while green waste and organic material is ground into mulch.

“We take pride in the volume of trash we are able to separate and reuse,” Johnston said, “but customers can make it easier for us if they divide their trash before they bring it in.”

According to the Santa Barbara County South Coast Recycling and Transfer Station website, the facility can handle 200 tons of recyclable materials per day, including electrical appliances, automobile batteries, bicycles, Christmas trees, construction and demolition debris, electronic items, used tires, wood and yard waste.

Derek Carlson is the business manager for MarBorg Industries, the primary waste disposal company in Santa Barbara. He said the unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara – including Isla Vista and Goleta – produced 583 tons of trash and 679 tons of green waste and commingled recyclables in 2000, the most recent year for which statistics were available.

Carlson said the Isla Vista and Goleta areas recycle 54 percent of their trash, while Santa Barbara County as a whole recycles 59.1 percent of its garbage.

“The entire trash industry has changed,” Carlson said. “The process went from a single truck picking up a single barrel and taking it directly to a landfill to a system of commingled recycling where different trucks pick up different barrels, sometimes multiple times per day.”

In 2001, MarBorg Industries received a Green Award from the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District for its outstanding environmental efforts and programs that reduce the amount of recyclables and hazardous material that end up in local landfills.

According to the SBAPCD website, MarBorg Industries was praised for its free electronic device and computer reuse programs that resulted in the recycling of 25,000 pounds of hard metal and the donation of 75 high-quality computers to the local Computers for Families organization. The company’s construction and demolition waste recycling program also received high praise for the ability to process 300 tons of wood, concrete, asphalt and metal per day.