The streets of Isla Vista and other unincorporated areas may soon be cleaner thanks to a countywide mandatory recycling initiative.
Over the summer, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors unanimously decided to implement mandatory recycling programs in all unincorporated areas of the county, including I.V. The decision is an effort to divert solid waste from Tajiguas, the 80-acre landfill 26 miles west of Santa Barbara. Although 40 percent of I.V. had effective recycling before this decision, the board now mandates that all of I.V. and the unincorporated areas in the rest of the county have recycling programs.
Mark Chaconas, assistant to 3rd District Supervisor Gail Marshall, said the success of I.V. recycling swayed the board’s decision.
“We’re using the positive example of I.V. on a voluntary basis to prove that apartment buildings do recycle,” Chaconas said. “If it could work in I.V., it could work everywhere else.”
County waste haulers are permitted to increase rates each year. This includes MarBorg Industries, which hauls trash from I.V. On July 1, MarBorg raised its rates by 25 cents to $32.75 per month for basic service. This includes a 95-gallon recycling container, which was previously an extra $10 per month.
“We’re currently diverting trash from the landfill at 60 percent countywide, which exceeds the statewide mandate of 50 percent,” Chaconas said. “We’re also working with businesses to implement in commercial areas, although this will take more time, due to the different materials that are used and thrown away.”
Alan Nakashima, of the county’s Solid Waste and Utilities Division, said commercial recycling will account for a 3 percent increase in diversion rate. The diversion rate is the percentage of waste diverted from Tajiguas landfill because of recycling programs.
“Currently the commercial sector and multi-family dwellings account for 55 percent of waste and 35 percent of recyclables. We’re doing our best to increase recycling efforts,” Nakashima said. “We’ve tried various incentives, but it just hasn’t happened on a widespread scale before.”
Chaconas said the increased recycling program will decrease the total amount of trash hauled from unincorporated areas over time.
“Residents will have the same level of trash service for a couple of months, but the amount of waste will be lower in the future,” Chaconas said. “Now we just have to educate property owners and convince people to buy more recyclables.”