The Environmental Management Department is committed to promoting waste reduction, reuse, and recycling in El Dorado County. The 1989 California Integrated Waste Management Act (AB 939) mandates that every City and County divert 50% of their waste from landfills. Please do your part to help the Community achieve this goal! Below you'll find information on recycling locations, reuse opportunities, and ways to reduce waste in your home and business!
Processing raw materials makes heavy demands on energy resources. About 3% of America`s energy is used for producing product packaging material. Reprocessing used materials reduces energy needs for mining, refining, and many manufacturing processes. Recycling paper cuts energy usage in half. Every pound of steel recycled saves 5,450 BTUs of energy, enough to light a 60-watt bulb for over 26 hours. Recycling a ton of glass saves the equivalent of nine gallons of fuel oil. Recycling used aluminum cans requires only about five percent of the energy needed to produce aluminum from bauxite. Recycling just one can saves enough electricity to light a 100-watt bulb for 3½ hours.
Our finite reserves of natural resources are being depleted rapidly, particularly with the increasing use of disposable products and packaging. According to a 2008 study by the EPA, Americans generate 250 million tons of waste yearly, 167 million tons of this waste is disposed of in landfills and incinerators. This rate of use and disposal takes a particularly heavy toll on irreplaceable natural resources such as minerals and petroleum. Reprocessing used materials to make new products and packaging reduces the consumption of natural resources. Every ton of recycled steel saves 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,000 pounds of coal, and 40 pounds of limestone. Recycling often produces better products than those made of virgin materials; for instance, the tin in bimetallic cans is more refined (thus more valuable) after being processed for recycling.
Recycling reduces environmental damage caused by mining, logging and manufacturing raw materials. Recycling reduces the risks of air and water pollution from manufacturing processes. Recycling paper cuts air pollution by about 75%. Substituting steel scrap for virgin ore reduces air emissions by 85% and water pollution by 76%. Recycling also reduces pollution risks by keeping materials out of landfills. No matter how strong environmental standards may be, there is always some risk associated with waste disposal. Recycling and waste reduction are preferred and effective alternatives.