Solid Waste

Why Is This Important?
Daily household and economic activity generates solid waste that is put in landfills.  This waste is derived from timber, metals, and other natural resources.  Many of these resources are renewable, but consumption may outpace nature’s ability to replenish them.  Waste reduction and recycling efforts focus on ways to balance resource consumption and renewal and reduce the amount of waste put in landfills.

What Is a Sustainable State?
A sustainable state is one where consumption of resources is in bal­ance with nature’s ability to replenish them and products that are produced are reused, recycled, or composted rather than thrown away.

How Are We Doing?

  • In 2006, San Mateo County generated and disposed of in landfills a total of 723,000 tons of solid waste, a decline of 5 percent (38,000 tons) from 2005 and the lowest total in more than a decade.
  • In 2006, total solid waste generated in the county was 21 percent less than 2000.
  • Roughly one-third of all waste in the county is residential waste.  According to state estimates, nearly 20 percent of residential waste is food remains and another 10 percent is organic matter such as leaves and grass.
  • In 2006, the average household in the county generated an estimated 1.8 pounds of waste per day.
  • In 2006, Redwood City, South San Francisco, and San Mateo generated the most commercial solid waste in the county. 
  • In the commercial sector, paper and food waste are the largest components of the waste stream.  Restaurants and retail establishments are the largest generators of commercial waste (an estimated 10 percent and 9 percent of the total commercial waste stream respectively).

Data source: California Integrated Waste Management Board


Data source: California Integrated Waste Management Board and the California Department of Finance


See appendix page 78, CLICK HERE. Researcher: Kakoli Banerjee

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From the 2014 Indicators Report

12.3% of county adults lack health insurance

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‟In the long term, the economy and the environment are the same thing. If it's unenvironmental it is uneconomical. That is the rule of nature.”—Mollie Beattie