by Photo Courtesy of Republic Services

The city of Chula Vista approved a zero-waste reduction strategic plan to achieve social, environmental, and economic stability after joining over 160 jurisdictions in the United States in declaring a climate emergency. 

The declaration was made during a March 1 city council meeting, where the Waste Reduction Strategic Plan, also known as the Zero Waste Plan was approved.

Over the years, the City of Chula Vista has adopted numerous climate-related policies, plans, and programs to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

“While these actions have started to reduce our community’s carbon footprint, more action is needed locally and globally,” Chula Vista Environmental Sustainability Manager Coleen Wisniewski wrote in a staff report.

According to Wisniewski, the impacts of climate change have begun to manifest themselves through record-breaking heatwaves, droughts, and wildfires locally, but the varied impact is observed on a global scale.

“Unless we act quickly and decisively, our civilization will be more and more impacted by a climate crisis characterized by unprecedented droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, famines, fires, heat waves, and sea-level elevations. Adverse events such as these are already occurring,” the staff report read. 

The creation of this climate emergency declaration resolution intends to update the city’s GHG reduction goals by adopting a Science-Based Reduction Target for 2030 and a carbon neutrality goal for 2045. These actions intend to strengthen existing efforts, such as updating the City Operations Sustainability Plan and encouraging new city actions and voluntary actions by residents and businesses. 

“The sooner emissions are reduced the more options local governments will have for policies that create gradual reductions instead of emergency actions that can be more costly and impactful to daily life,” Wisniewski wrote.

The City of Chula Vista has been proactive about mitigating climate change by creating the first Climate Action Plan in San Diego County in 2000 and regularly updating it with new science and programs to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

According to the staff report, key implementation actions include being a founding member of San Diego Community Power to bring 100 percent renewable electricity to Chula Vista; creating and implementing the Active Transportation Plan; adopting a multi-family and commercial benchmarking and building performance ordinance; and creating a Zero Waste Plan.

It was recommended in the city’s 2017 Climate Action Plan (CAP), which follows zero waste best practices, to create a Zero Waste Plan. These efforts consider “People, Planet, and Prosperity” as the “triple bottom line” to achieve social, environmental, and economic sustainability and a green local economy and community. 

The CAP serves as the basis for detailed and measurable Zero Waste Plan Strategies and Actions. The approved plan contains six key tasks and strategies that recommend 39 specific approaches with coordinated short-term, medium-term, and long-term actions to reduce, reuse, recycle and further divert resources from being buried in the Otay Landfill. 

Zero Waste planning and implementation focus on three proven objectives. First, reduce the volume and toxicity of waste by eliminating them in the first place. Second, use materials and products for their original intended uses and then reuse them for other uses before recycling. Third, recycle or compost all remaining materials to their highest and best use after they have been reduced and reused as much as possible.

The approved Zero Waste Plan is available at

Contact Environmental Services via email for more information: or call (619) 691-5122

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