Efforts to improve green practices in Santa Barbara have borne fruit, indicated by new statistics that rank Santa Barbara County in the top 10 percent of California counties in terms of recycling efficiency.

According to a press release, the 2006 statistics – the most recent available – show that Santa Barbara County’s unincorporated areas, such as Isla Vista, recycle 69 percent of the materials they use. The recent spike in recycling is a record high for the county.

Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors 1st District Chair Salud Carbajal said the statistics show the county’s green commitment.

“I am ecstatic,” Carbajal said. “[Counties] all have goals to recycle more and be more green. Everyone talks about how great it is, but actions speak louder than words.”

Carbajal said Santa Barbara’s success was due to the actions of the community as a whole, with both businesses and citizens helping to achieve the high rate of recycling.

“I think it is the result of our residents and businesses partnering up with Santa Barbara County to model the way,” Carbajal said. “It is great to model other cities.”

County officials are currently striving for even higher goals to maximize recycling efforts, Carbajal said, including plans to increase recycling rates up to 90 to 95 percent and to incorporate conversion technology in new projects. According to Carbajal, Santa Barbara’s reputation as a green community is now being reestablished, with tangible results.

“I am proud to be a part of an organization to model,” Carbajal said. “We put our money where our mouth is.”

Other local organizations have also joined the effort to preserve the environment through recycling methods. According to Santa Barbara Surfrider Foundation member Deane Plaisper, the local chapter of the nonprofit organization has concerned itself with increased recycling to ensure an unpolluted local coastline. Plaisper also said that proper waste management is crucial for environmental wellbeing.

“Clean coasts result from not throwing garbage,” Plaisper said. “As long as people aren’t throwing garbage, we can have a clean coast.”