Citrus generated almost 1,200 tons of waste in 2000. The two biggest components of our waste turn out to be green waste (240 tons) and paper products (70 tons). This shouldn't come as any surprise, if you think about it for a minute. After all, Citrus has about 30 acres of landscaping and athletic fields to maintain, and most of us handle and generate paper documents, mail and files in various amounts on a daily basis.

Reducing Waste Makes Sense
When our trash goes to a landfill, along with the trash of millions of other people and thousands of other businesses, it does not go away just because we no longer see it. Californians sent more than 60 million tons of trash to various landfills last year. And, as our population expands and its hyper-consuming patterns continue, so too will the trash it generates.

Our trash is not environmentally benign; as it decomposes, poisons and chemicals leach down into our soil, our groundwater and vent into the air. Most of us depend on groundwater for our drinking water, and all of us must breathe the air. In short, our wasteful habits continually revisit us in the form of unhealthful pollution.

Recently, legislation titled AB75 was enacted. Like AB939, which mandated California cities to reduce their share of landfill waste by half, AB75 similarly requires that all state and public agencies develop an "integrated waste management program" to reduce the amount of trash going into landfills by 50% by 2004. This requirement puts formally voluntary recycling programs, source reduction strategies and reuse programs into an entirely new light. They are now indispensable tools for waste management.

Over the years, Citrus has implemented several programs to help reduce the amount of waste going into our trash. We hope to start others soon. Read on to find out how you can help.