Cities and counties are expected to meet a 1989 state law that mandates them to reduce solid waste sent to landfills by 25% by next year, a state agency said.

According to the California Integrated Waste Management Board, local governments' waste diversion has steadily grown, to 20% in 1993 from 14% in 1990. The diversion rate is projected to reach 23% this year.

The waste reduction is attributed to local recycling programs and the cooperation of residents, a board newsletter said. A total of 480 communities have curbside recycling programs, compared with 253 in 1990.

The California Integrated Waste Management Act, passed in 1989 to encourage recycling and to address other municipal waste disposal matters, requires cities and counties to create a plan that reduces waste sent to landfills by 25% by 1995 and 50% by 2000.

The waste diversion mandates have encouraged some municipal jurisdictions to issue debt to fund construction of plants that separate recyclable materials from the waste stream. About 30 communities have built such plants.

"Meeting the goal of reducing waste by 50% by 2000 will be much more difficult" than the 25% waste diversion goal for 1995, the board newsletter said.

"Cities and counties have done an outstanding job of meeting the challenge of '25 by 95,' and the projections demonstrate a growing commitment to evolve from a throw-away society to one that saves natural resources and protects the environment," the newsletter said.

-- Brad Altman, Los Angeles

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