Office of Sustainability: Solid Waste Management (4060B)

Program Outcome Statement

Administer and implement solid waste management and  resource conservation programs and policies throughout the County

Program Services

  • Solid waste planning and management
  • Resource conservation program implementation
  • Public education and outreach


The Office of Sustainability Waste Reduction Program’s mission is to advance environmental sustainability by working with residents, businesses, and institutions throughout San Mateo County to encourage environmental stewardship, implement resource conservation programs and policies, and comply with the California Integrated Waste Management Act (AB 939), the California Mandatory Commercial Recycling Act (AB 341), and the California Mandatory Organics Recycling Act (AB 1826).
The Program administers diversion and resource conservation outreach and education and provides technical assistance programs to schools, businesses, and the general public to meet the diversion goals of the legislative acts listed above. In FY 2018-19, the Program will continue to expand collaborative opportunities with other local governments, increase awareness through social media marketing, and expand the scope and breadth of the Schools Program.
The Program will also update, as necessary, the Five-Year Countywide Integrated Waste Management Plan, investigate alternative funding sources, and explore disposal and diversion options for the South Coastal San Mateo County areas. The Program will continue to focus on addressing illegal dumping in unincorporated County areas, which is a growing issue throughout the County.

Customer Satisfaction with Hotline and Website

Daily Garbage Disposal Per Capita in Unincorporated San Mateo County

FY 2018-19 Mid-Year Story Behind Performance

Customer Satisfaction with Hotline and Website 
The Waste Reduction team estimates a 95% satisfaction rate in FY 2018-19, which meets the intended target rate.
The Office of Sustainability (OOS) has a hotline and website that provides information to residents and businesses throughout the county on various programs and as well as sustainability technical assistance. The hotline is staffed by the Waste Reduction team and has primarily provided information on recycling, composting, and waste reduction to callers. Additionally, it provides resources and assistance for all the other programs offered by the OOS. The OOS also runs and maintains a website that provides information on all sustainability topics from climate change to active transportation to waste reduction and recycling.

To obtain feedback and measure customer satisfaction with both of these services, the Waste Reduction team (along with the rest of the OOS) has included a link to a survey at the bottom of their email signatures asking for feedback. The results of this survey are then tallied and filtered out to reflect only efforts by the Waste Reduction team. The team aims for a 95 percent satisfaction rate, which is categorized by respondents to the survey responding to the questions with “satisfied” or higher. For FY 2018-19, the Waste Reduction team estimates a 95% satisfaction rate.

Daily Garbage Disposal Per Capita in Unincorporated San Mateo County
The Waste Reduction team estimates a slight increase in per capita disposal in FY 2018-19, for a total of 3.6 ppd in the residential sector and 8.5 ppd in the commercial sector. This is still well below the State targets of 5.1 ppd for residential and 15.7 for commercial. 
The Waste Reduction team measures solid waste disposal rates in pounds per person per day (ppd) from the unincorporated county areas into landfills in California. As of last year, disposal rates reported from the unincorporated areas meet and are less than the target goals set by the State of California, which is favorable. The focus of the Waste Reduction team is on diversion, resource conservation, outreach, and education which all contribute to meeting this measure. For FY 2018-19, the team estimates a slight increase in disposal, which reflects the recovering economy. This is an important aspect of disposal rates, given that people start to purchase more products in a better economy, which increases the tons disposed of in landfills. Another component of reducing disposal is balancing the staff time needed for outreach and education to residents and businesses with the staff time required to address the increase in illegal dumping and clean-up efforts in the unincorporated areas. Staff time dedicated to these types of issues (illegal dumping and clean-up efforts), may affect the ability of OOS to meet its targets. Note: given that CalRecycle tracks disposal on a calendar year basis and the County operates on a fiscal year, each data point represents the disposal for the first half of the fiscal year and the second half of the previous fiscal year. 

Future Priorities

  • Develop collaborative edible food recovery program.  Work with all the cities in the county to develop a countywide program to address some of the requirements from SB 1383 around edible food waste prevention and recovery. 
  • Expand the existing Schools Program. Continue to look for new opportunities to increase environmental education around the four Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle, rot/compost) in San Mateo County schools. 
  • Focus on source reduction programming and policy. Develop more programming and policy around reducing waste, such as single-use disposable foodservice ware. 
  • Improve sustainability of County facilities. Collaborate with other County departments to increase waste diversion and sustainability of current County operations, including expansion of composting to all facilities, increasing access to surplus property, and increasing awareness and education. 

Author: Gordon Tong, Sustainability Program Manager     Contact Email:     Last Updated: 12/19/2018