"Our industry has continually changed and evolved; the changes we’re seeing now are unprecedented and transformational."
I’ve spent my entire career in the waste and recycling industry, and I love to talk trash! As you’ll see in this year’s report, lots of change is in progress.
Like any highly regulated industry, ours has continually changed and evolved due to regulatory and legislative mandates. The changes we’re seeing now are unprecedented and transformational – for cities, businesses and haulers alike.
Our preparation in 2017 set us up to launch the department’s transition in 2018—from simply promoting recycling to practicing it. Our teams established pilot compost projects at all three landfills. These pilots serve as test labs, and we’re gathering data to help make informed decisions as we explore our development of full-scale composting operations. This endeavor was new for the team, and I’m so proud of what they accomplished.
The industry is pointing toward a resource recovery facility model, and composting is a critical first step. I’m confident that the County is on track to develop facilities that will contribute to the absent local infrastructure required to meet state mandates.
2018 was also about world-class landfill operations. Major capital projects created waste disposal fill areas that now provide approximately 16 years of additional capacity. We transitioned to new IT systems that enhance our ability to track compliance and project management data. We also created a Neighbor Support Portal to address questions, comments and concerns from the public regarding our landfills. We completed planning for a new generation of educational outreach focused on recycling contamination and organic waste diversion, and we launched a collaborative safety culture initiative.
It has also been a rewarding year for me personally. In addition to witnessing the many accomplishments achieved by our team, I continued my journey as a public servant and found countless reasons to be a proud County of Orange employee.
I hope you’ll review our 2018 Annual Report to learn more about our work to help Orange County respond to waste management and recycling changes. Thank you and enjoy.