San Joaquin County as a whole is making changes in every Division and Department to follow through on our commitment to sustainability, conserving resources and "being green." As the leader for the County when it comes to recycling, reducing and diverting waste, San Joaquin County Solid Waste has encouraged new ideas at every level of the Solid Waste organization. We have managed several pilot programs and empowered individuals at the operations level to try new ideas to meet the goals of saving money, conserving resources and lowering our environmental impact at County Facilities. Below are some examples illustrating how Solid Waste and other San Joaquin County Departments and Divisions are making an impact and going green.
San Joaquin County "Getting Greener Everyday" Video 2014
In 2008, through the approval of the "Environmentally-Preferable Purchasing Policy", the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors made a committment to conserve resources, maximize recycling and reduce the County's carbon footprint. Each year, the Purchasing Division is tasked with reporting to the Board of Supervisors the progress that has been made. In 2014, a short video was made to illustrate the programs and actions of County agencies to fulfill the County's commitment of being a steward of the environment. Click on the image to view the
San Joaquin County Landfill Gas to Energy Program
Foothill LGEAfter a public bidding process San Joaquin County Public Works Solid Waste Division and Ameresco Inc. have entered into negotiations to construct a landfill gas (LFG) to energy facility at the Foothill Sanitary Landfill. Based on the amount of methane available at this site to generate electricity, two generators with a combined capacity of 4.3 MW are being proposed. In this public-private partnership, San Joaquin County will share in the revenues created through the sale of the electricity produced. Prior to this project, the methane produced at this site was being burned off through the use of a flare. Methane has been targeted as a greenhouse gas that has more of an impact on the environment than carbon dioxide.
Sheep & Goat Grazing Program
San Joaquin Count Solid Waste Facilities have replaced our two-legged landscapers with the four-legged variety. Currently sheep and goat herds are being used to "mow" open areas around the recycling facilities and covered landfill areas. These animals harvest the plants just above ground level. This keeps the plants alive, strengthens the root system, reduces fire hazards and eliminates the need for fertilizers or pesticides. By utilizing these animals the way nature intended and not using gas powered equipment and blowers, resources are conserved, waste to the landfill is reduced and air quality is improved.
Asphalt Road Patch Pilot
In a partnership between San Joaquin County Solid Waste Division, the Road Maintenance Division and Valley Asphalt, a local business, a pilot program was initiated to see if ground up asphalt shingles, left over from roofing projects, could be used by the County as a viable asphalt road patch material.
Valley Asphalt's business model involved collecting asphalt shingles from businesses and the public and grinding this material up to make road base and asphalt patch. The County tested this material at several locations with different road repair needs. For some repairs, the product worked perfectly, for others the blend needed to be slightly modified for optimal results.
Unfortunately Valley Asphalt closed its doors due to unforeseen circumstances. San Joaquin County is still exploring new ideas to reuse and recycle asphalt shingle material.
San Joaquin County ReBicycle Project
Department of Public Works, Solid Waste Recovery Supervisors Manuel Chaves and Roy Constantino saw that many discarded bicycles headed for the recycler could still be used. They recognized the benefit to the community and the environment of refurbishing them for underprivileged youth and adults.
A partnership formed with local clean air agencies assists with marketing and seeks funding for parts. Partners includethe Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce, the Council of Government’s Commute Connection, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, and Valley CAN (Clean Air Now). Robby’s Bicycles of Stockton has provided parts at cost. The shop class at Stagg High School in Stockton helped repair bikes during 2012.
Recipients of 65 bikes in December 2011 included HOPE, a gang prevention and intervention non-profit in Stockton, Tracy Interfaith, Tracy’s A Better Christmas, the Lodi Fraternal Order of Eagles, and the Home Church of Stockton. Recipients of 63 bikes in December 2012 included last Chance of Stockton and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Stockton, Tracy and Manteca.
San Joaquin County Pilot to Manage Landfill Erosion Using Recycled Organics
State regulations require that erosion control measures be in place on landfill caps and slopes. The most economical way to prevent erosion is through the use of vegetation at landfill sites. The roots from this vegetation hold the soil together and prevent erosion. The issue with vegetation is that watering the plants is not an option, so the plants used must be very hardy and suited to San Joaquin County's unique climate. At San Joaquin County's North County Sanitary Landfill, a pilot project was launched to test the effectiveness of mulch and compost on plant viability and vitality in a landfill setting. Partnering with the UCCE based Landscape Management Outreach Partnership (LMOP), one of the landfill slopes was divided into several "strips" to test different soil scenarios and plant mixes for plant viability. These test strips are approximately 10 feet wide and 30 feet long (going uphill). Each strip has its own special soil blend: one with local soil only, another with a soil and compost mix, another with a soil and mulch mix, etc. Different mixes of vegetation are also being used to find out which plant mixes require the least maintenance while providing effective erosion control. Results from this pilot may be published to assist landfills in California and other states in meeting their regulatory compliance goals.
Tire Scraper Project - Reuse at Lovelace MRF Saves $$
Employees at San Joaquin County facilities are encouraged to find innovative ways to cut costs and divert materials from reaching the landfill. The following example illustrates Solid Waste's strong commitment to this practice:
Some of the heavy equipment used to move material on the tipping floor at County facilities requires protective pads to act as a buffer between the floor and the equipment, extending the life of each. These expensive metal pads need to be replaced approximately every six weeks, costing the County over $3,000 for each occurrence.
When Bill Baier of the Lovelace MRF was contacted by a vendor selling a version of these pads made from recycled tires, it gave him an idea. Bill and his crew decided to create a their own prototype pad made from waste tires collected at the facility. They had tire pieces custom cut by an outside vendor and then assembled the pieces on a re-useable metal rod and frame.
The prototype pads worked well and are being used at the facility today. While there are some costs associated with making these pads on site, San Joaquin County is experiencing a cost savings of over $30,000 per year and is diverting waste by utilizing this program.
San Joaquin County Green Purchasing Policy
San Joaquin County has adopted a Green Purchasing Policy. This policy was adopted in order to:
- Conserve natural resources, preserve air, soil, and water quality.
- Minimize environmental impacts.
- Eliminate or reduce toxins.
- Strengthen and support strong local recycling markets.
- Reduce materials that are disposed of in landfill.
- Increase the use of environmentally preferable products.
- Create a model for purchasing recycled products.
Click here to see the Green Purchasing Policy.
San Joaquin County Green Committee
San Joaquin County Green is a program that was developed under the direction of the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors. San Joaquin County's Purchasing and Support Services was named the lead for this important program. As part of the County Green Program/Policy, a County Environmental Preferable Purchasing Committee or the "Green Committee" was created, comprised of representatives of multiple County departments, area chambers of commerce, local colleges and community based organizations.
This Committee helps to communicate policy requirements and established procedures, identify environmentally preferable products and services, and provide information for employee awareness on environmentally preferable procurement. The program reports to the Board of Supervisors annually on the status of policy implementation and the environmental purchasing accomplishments of departments and agencies.