A CAT 826 demonstrates the “pancake” method of compacting the Miramar Landfill. Courtesy mayor’s office

An innovation in trash compacting will extend the useful life of the of the Miramar Landfill by eight years to 2030, Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced Wednesday.

Faulconer, City Council members Sherri Lightner and Chris Cate, and other city officials gathered at the landfill to make the announcement.

Improvements in trash compaction suggested by city employees have increased remaining capacity of the landfill by 45 percent, Faulconer said, while the city’s recently-adopted Zero Waste Plan results in less trash going into the landfill.

“We’ve increased the landfill’s capacity while at the same time making sure we recycle as much of our trash as possible so it never reaches to the landfill,” Faulconer said. “It’s a great example of the innovative ideas our city employees come up with when asked for creative solutions.”

The more efficient compaction method is known in the industry as the “pancake lift.” It involves constructing horizontal layers of trash with each day’s trash representing a layer in the stack. The City purchased a second compactor – a CAT 826 model that weighs 45 tons – to implement the technique.

“The bottom line is we are putting more trash into less space and expanding the life of the landfill, which is worth tens of millions of dollars in future revenue for the city,” said Mario Sierra, the city’s environmental services director.

San Diego currently disposes of over 910,000 tons of trash per year.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.