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 Anonymous 2013-06-21 at 10:10:41 am Views: 104
  • #1977

    S.D. slows the flow of paper to landfill


    Terry Davis Was Delighted to be stuffing a stack of old income-tax records several feet high into plastic bins at the Miramar Landfill Recycling Center.

    The papers are shredded and recycled free of charge, providing a way for individuals and businesses to dispose of records confidentially while conserving natural resources.

    "Have you ever tried to shred this much paper?" asked Davis, who works as a tax preparer. "This saves time."

    The San Diego Environmental Services Department is sponsoring the records recycling program though tomorrow with the Allen Co., which operates a recycling center for glass, metal cans, plastic, paper and other materials at the entrance to the city's Miramar Landfill in Kearny Mesa.

    Davis showed up one afternoon this week with so much paper because she volunteered to bring tax records for some of her older clients for whom the trip might be difficult.

    Some people bring reams of records for disposal; others just a few. Since the bins, the size of large trash cans, were made available April 12, about 6,000 pounds of records has been collected and sent on for shredding and new life as paper pulp for note pads, white paper for printers, even paper towels, officials said.

    It would take about 50 mature trees a couple of feet in diameter to produce that much paper, Michael Hall, an Allen Co. manager, estimated.

    Beyond conserving trees, the city has another reason for promoting the annual April program, first offered in 2001. It saves space in the landfill, said Environmental Services spokeswoman Nicole Hall.

    San Diego, like other California cities, is under a state mandate to reduce the flow of trash to landfills. About 21 percent of trash in the Miramar site is paper that could be recycled, Hall said. Although the annual tax records recycling saves a little space, it also reminds people about recycling paper the rest of the year, she said.

    Jim Spade of Bay Park had old tax forms, income statements and much more to shred. He showed up with three large plastic trash bags filled with financial records that his recently deceased mother-in-law had collected for 30 years.

    He said he thought of burning them and imagined all the smoke and soot. He considered using a modest shredder at home, then reconsidered.

    "We'd be doing it for weeks," Spade said.

    "Who knows what she's bought in there," he said as he moved fistfuls of paper toward the 2-inch slot in the bin.

    Spade asked Michael Hall's crew to unlock the bin to let him dump the paper. Politely, but unequivocally, the request was denied. Hall said it is crucial to prevent access to the information.

    As the three bins fill, a site leader empties them into a larger Dumpster. The Dumpster, which also is locked, is hauled to Los Angeles, Michael Hall said, where the paper is cut into narrow strips about an eighth of an inch wide with serrated edges that would make reassembly difficult.

    Next, it is baled and delivered to a paper mill, where it is turned into pulp and the ink removed. The pulp is used to make paper products that are less expensive than those made from virgin wood, he said.

    Hall said the company is bonded to pay damages in the event someone managed to steal financial information somewhere along the line.

    Hours for the shredding program are 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today and 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. tomorrow at the landfill entrance, 5165 Convoy St.

    * Post was edited: 2004-05-04 12:35:00