Making Democracy Work

Solid Waste Management

Adopted 1984

The Leagues of Women Voters of Santa Clara County support a Solid Waste Management Plan for Santa Clara County that emphasizes cooperation among local jurisdictions in seeking long-term solutions, measures to reduce the waste stream, protection of the environment, and financial responsibility. The plan should:


  • Be flexible enough to allow different combinations of cities and county or counties to work together as appropriate.

  • Promote aggressive and comprehensive recycling programs.

  • Set and enforce high standards for protection of air and water quality and control of odors.

  • Include new proven technologies and encourage creative problem solving. Water-to-energy facilities should be considered if cost-effective and should be seen as an energy recovery technique as well as a waste disposal method.

  • Based on state minimum standards, with local control of the implementation of solid waste disposal plans.

The LWVSCC supports the use of the following criteria when selecting solid waste management facilities and sites:


  • Air and water quality must be protected.

  • Transportation costs (vehicles, labor, fuel, access roads, and environmental pollution) must be considered.

  • Long-term and short-term costs must be weighed and must include both direct (dollars) and indirect (land use and environmental effect) costs.

  • The size of any facility should be consistent with recycling programs.

  • There should be recognition that recycling and burn facilities become more important as nearby landfill space decreases.

  • Ability to extend the life of landfills should be considered when making decisions about recycling facilities, transfer sites, waste processing plants, mass-burn facilities and refuse-derived fuel operations.

  • Adequate access to recycling centers, transfer sites, mass-burn facilities and refuse-derived fuel plants must be provided.

  • Hydro-geological and geological conditions must meet high standards for safety when siting landfills, both sanitary and process.

  • Reliable markets for the products of recycling, mass burning and refuse-derived fuel should be available.

  • Proximity to waste generation is important for transfer sites.  Traffic and noise impacts generated by transfer sites and transportation of solid waste must be considered.

  • Different combinations of public and private ownership and/or operations should be explored in each situation in order to provide options for systems which are the most efficient and economically sound.

The LWVSCC supports measures to develop greater awareness of solid waste management issues.


  • A strong public education element should be included in any solid waste management for Santa Clara County.

  • Programs should be developed to inform the public about the problems of solid waste disposal and how people can help reduce the waste stream.

  • Methods to promote community awareness of specific issues such as siting of waste management facilities should be sought and utilized, with opportunities of citizen participation at all stages.


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