Essential Guide to Landfills in San Diego CA: Locations, Hours & Recycling Tips

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Illustration of San Diego's landfill landscape

Managing waste effectively in San Diego requires knowledge of your local landfills. This guide zeroes in on essential landfill details like locations, hours, and accepted materials, catering to those looking for practical advice on waste disposal. This article specifically highlights the Miramar Landfill while also acknowledging other facilities in the county, ensuring that you are equipped with all the necessary information for responsible and eco-conscious disposal.

Key Takeaways

  • The Miramar Landfill, processing 910,000 tons of trash annually, is a major part of San Diego’s waste management and is set to expand its capacity. 
  • The Miramar Landfill accepts a diverse range of materials, offers recycling services, and has special programs like clean fill dirt to encourage responsible disposal practices and enhance environmental stewardship.
  • San Diego’s waste management facilities are under stringent regulatory oversight, including the San Diego County Local Enforcement Agency, to ensure compliance with public health and environmental standards.

Navigating San Diego’s Landfill Landscape

San Diego’s landscape is dotted with numerous landfills, each contributing to the city’s waste management in its unique way. The Miramar Landfill stands out among these, processing approximately 910,000 tons of trash every year. This Miramar Landfill, which is on track to expand its height by 25 feet to accommodate more waste, receives positive reviews and feedback from the community for its efficient services. Various other solid waste facilities in addition to The Miramar Landfill are sprinkled throughout San Diego County and cater to different disposal needs, making waste management a well-orchestrated collective effort.

The Role of Miramar Landfill in San Diego’s Waste Management

The Miramar Landfill serves a dual role, functioning not only as a dumpsite but also as an embodiment of San Diego’s dedication towards environmental management. Under the watchful eye of the City’s Environmental Services Department, the landfill provides efficient solid waste disposal services. Current projections indicate that the Miramar Landfill will continue its operations until about 2025, ensuring the city’s waste management needs are met for the foreseeable future.

Other Solid Waste Facilities in San Diego County

Apart from the Miramar Landfill, several other solid waste facilities across San Diego County are designed to address a range of disposal needs. For instance, the Universal Refuse Removal and Recycling Facility is a testament to the county’s adherence to regulatory standards. Even construction-related materials have a designated place, with dedicated construction landfills available throughout the county.

Essential Information on Miramar Landfill

The Miramar Landfill has become a notable landmark in San Diego. Operating since 1959, the landfill stretches across a vast expanse of 1,500 acres. This significant site serves as a critical waste management facility in San Diego, handling an immense volume of the city’s waste and recycling needs.

Hours of Operation: When Can You Visit?

Planning a trip to the Miramar Landfill? Here are some important details to keep in mind:

  • The facility is open every day, with office hours from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm.
  • Self-dumping is permitted from 7:00 am to 4:30 pm.
  • The landfill is closed on Sundays and major holidays, including New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

Make sure to plan your visit accordingly to avoid any inconvenience.

Getting There: Location and Accessibility

The Miramar Landfill is easily accessible for visitors and trucks alike. Whether you’re a resident looking to dispose of household waste or a business dealing with larger waste volumes, reaching the landfill is a hassle-free process.

Accepted Materials and Disposal Guidelines

The Miramar Landfill accepts a variety of materials for disposal, from everyday items like wood, plastic, large furniture, and appliances to more specific materials like dirt. Keep in mind, not all waste types are accepted at this facility. Hazardous waste, liquids, hot coals, construction debris, large items, unwrapped sharp objects are among the items that are prohibited. The landfill’s acceptance criteria and recycling services are designed to promote environmentally responsible disposal practices.

What Goes Where: Understanding Waste Sorting

Waste sorting is about ensuring that each type of waste is disposed of in the most appropriate and environmentally friendly manner. This means that household hazardous waste, electronics, and other specific types of waste should be disposed of according to City of San Diego guidelines. By ensuring proper disposal, residents can avoid mixing harmful substances with regular waste and thus play a part in protecting the environment and working to protect public health.

Special Programs: Clean Fill Dirt and Recycling Initiatives

The Miramar Landfill goes beyond basic waste management to offer special programs that benefit the community and the environment. One such initiative is the clean fill dirt program, which provides the public with mulch, compost, and wood chips. Recycling programs have significantly reduced the annual amount of waste buried at the landfill, promoting waste diversion and reducing disposal costs. These programs underscore the landfill’s commitment to environmental stewardship and the promotion of community benefits through responsible waste management.

Cost Considerations for Disposal Services

While landfills provide a vital service, utilizing these facilities does incur a cost. At the Miramar Landfill, the disposal fee is $31 per ton. This fee has seen an increase due to adjustments based on the Consumer Price Index, effective from July 1, 2023.

Breakdown of Landfill Fees

The breakdown of landfill fees at the Miramar Landfill can vary based on several factors, such as vehicle type, waste category, waste weight, and the origin of the waste. There are also additional fees for certain issues like oversized or overweight loads, uncovered loads, and penalties for issues like returned checks. To avoid any surprises, it’s advisable to consult the on-site supervisor at the Miramar Landfill before proceeding with disposal.

Saving on Disposal: Tips for Reducing Costs

Reducing disposal costs might seem challenging, but with a few key strategies, it’s entirely possible. For instance, ensuring loads are covered can help you avoid extra charges at landfill check-in. Considering dumpster rentals and using them efficiently can also lead to more effective disposal practices, potentially reducing overall expenses.

Environmental Stewardship and Landfills

The operation of San Diego’s landfills clearly reflects the city’s dedication to environmental sustainability. Facilities like the Miramar Landfill implement environmentally sound waste disposal methods, striving to minimize their environmental footprint. From capturing and converting the methane generated by the landfill into an energy source to preventing soil erosion and water runoff, the Miramar Landfill’s contributions to environmental protection are commendable.

Innovations in Landfill Design and Management

The Miramar Landfill stands out not only for its size and capacity but also for its advanced design and management practices. These practices have significantly reduced the amount of waste buried annually at the landfill, thanks to effective recycling and diversion activities. Regulatory agencies like the San Diego Air Pollution Control District also collaborate with the Air Resources Board to manage landfill emissions, ensuring compliance with rules like the Landfill Methane Rule.

Regulatory Oversight: Ensuring Compliance and Safety

Ensuring that landfills operate safely and effectively is largely dependent on regulatory oversight. The San Diego County Local Enforcement Agency supervises landfills like Miramar, ensuring public health, safety, and environmental wellbeing through permit management, reviews of legislation, and regular inspections by various agencies. 

Popular Services Offered by Local Landfills

Local landfills offer a range of services that cater to the diverse needs of San Diego’s residents beyond just waste disposal. From e-waste disposal to hazardous waste disposal, these services cover a wide spectrum of waste management needs. The Miramar Landfill even goes a step further with its Miramar Greenery initiative, providing a suite of recycling services along with mulch, compost, and wood pick-up.

On-Site Amenities: From Mulch to Electronics Recycling

The Miramar Landfill’s greenery offers more than just a scenic view. It provides valuable amenities to the public, including mulch, compost from produce, and wood chips. The Miramar Landfill also provides a drop-off location for large or bulky recyclables that cannot be discarded in regular trash bins. 

Convenience Features: Easy Access and Customer Support

Customer support is a cornerstone of effective waste management. San Diego County’s Local Enforcement Agency ensures that residents can easily access contact information for inquiries and complaints, fostering transparency and accountability in waste management services. With the convenience of an online complaint form, residents can ensure their concerns are documented and addressed in a timely manner.

Navigating Regulations and Permits

Understanding waste disposal regulations and securing permits in San Diego may seem complicated. With strict regulations in place to ensure environmental protection and public health safety, different types of waste, from hazardous to special industrial waste, have specific handling and disposal requirements. Whether for residential or business purposes, a permit is likely necessary. 

Understanding Local Waste Disposal Regulations

Being aware of local waste disposal regulations is essential for responsible waste management. San Diego County’s waste management facilities, including landfills and recycling centers, are regulated by the Solid Waste Local Enforcement Agency, which ensures their compliance with public health and environmental safety standards. From residents having to place their refuse containers at collection points by a designated time, to developers liaising with the Local Enforcement Agency for permits, each aspect of waste disposal is carefully regulated to mitigate environmental impacts.

How to Secure Proper Disposal Permits

Although securing the appropriate disposal permits may appear daunting, it is manageable with the right resources. The first step is identifying the type of waste you need to dispose of and researching local regulations. Residents can contact the local city or county offices for any permit inquiries. If you need further assistance, San Diego’s Environmental Services Department can guide you through the application process.


Understanding the intricacies of San Diego’s landfill landscape is crucial for residents aiming to contribute to the city’s robust waste management system. From the crucial role of the Miramar Landfill and other waste facilities, to the importance of adhering to local regulations and securing proper permits, each aspect plays a part in maintaining environmental sustainability. By utilizing the various services offered by local landfills and adhering to the best practices listed in this guide, residents can continue to contribute to a cleaner and greener San Diego.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of waste can I dispose of at the Miramar Landfill?

You can dispose of wood, plastic, large furniture, appliances, and dirt at the Miramar Landfill, but hazardous waste, liquids, hot coals, construction debris, large items, and unwrapped sharp objects are prohibited.

What are the operation hours of the Miramar Landfill?

The Miramar Landfill is open every day from 7:00 am to 4:30 pm for self-dumping, with office hours from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm. It is closed on Sundays and major holidays.

How much does it cost to dispose of waste at the Miramar Landfill?

Disposing waste at the Miramar Landfill costs $31 per ton. Fees can vary depending on factors such as waste category, weight, and origin.

What special programs does the Miramar Landfill offer?

The Miramar Landfill offers a clean fill dirt program and recycling programs that have effectively reduced the yearly amount of waste buried at the landfill. 

How do I secure a proper disposal permit in San Diego?

To secure a disposal permit in San Diego, you should identify the type of waste, research local regulations, and then contact the Environmental Services Department for further assistance.

LDR Site Services

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