Santa Barbara County ReSource Center

2022 NACo Achievement Award Winner

Santa Barbara County, Calif., CA

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About the Program

Category: County Resiliency (Best in Category)

Year: 2022

In 2007, Santa Barbara County sought to change how it managed solid waste by using new technologies and new facilities that would address California's climate change mandates and decrease the landfilling of waste. Santa Barbara has historically shown innovative leadership in environmental policy, and this tradition continues with the ReSource Center. The ReSource Center is the first operation in California to house a materials recovery facility, anaerobic digestion facility, compost management unit, and landfill all at one location. This comprehensive project recovers recyclable materials, transforms organics into landscape nutrients, and creates renewable energy. With these new facilities, approximately 60% of additional waste from the community's trash cans is diverted from the landfill, bringing the region's diversion rate above 85% while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The project required over a decade of skillful coordination of regional interests, a comprehensive public outreach plan, a thorough environmental review process, and public financing for Santa Barbara County's largest single capital project to date.

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