Here’s a list of our most frequently asked questions!

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General Sustainability

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Check out the City’s 2019 Sustainability Progress Report! It provides an inventory of key sustainability indicators and goals for the City’s water, energy, waste, habitat restoration, and transportation sectors. It also highlights examples of actions taken and progress made since 2015. 

City Council’s Sustainability sub-committee provides guidance on many of the City’s sustainability and resilience efforts. These decisions often build upon existing policies, including the General Plan, the Climate Action Plan, and the Strategic Energy Plan. Learn more about the City’s Sustainability Committee here!

Help make our communities healthier and more livable while also conserving resources and saving money! The Green Business certification is a great way to show your community that you share their environmental values. Learn more here:


With about 285 days of sunshine each year in Santa Barbara, solar energy power is a great resource to take advantage of! There are lots of resources to help you get solar–check out Go Solar California, Energy Upgrade California, and our solar resources page. The Community Environmental Council’s (CEC) Solarize program provides guidance, resources, and potential financial incentives too! Also, the City of Santa Barbara’s Building and Safety has expedited the solar permitting process for systems 10kW or less.  

Our local utility companies have programs to help you measure your energy use. Southern California Edison’s Energy Advisor program for residents and businesses can help you monitor electricity use and identify ways to improve efficiency in your buildings.  Southern California Gas Company’s Ways to Save program for residents and on-site energy assessment for businesses can help you do the same for natural gas use. Also, you can get a virtual energy audit through TriCountyREN!

Improving energy efficiency in your home or business will save you money and reduce your carbon footprint — it’s a win-win! There are a ton of resources, programs, and incentives available to help you weatherize your home, choose efficient appliances, and incorporate energy efficiency into your daily life.

Check out Energy Upgrade California, Energy Star, and Southern California Regional Energy Network for steps you can take right now to save money and reduce energy use! Plus, they have lots of information on financing, rebates, and other incentives. Also, utility providers Southern California Edison and Southern California Gas Company have useful information and rebates for residents and business owners looking to improve energy efficiency.

Review electric cars, charging options, and incentives through SCE, Drive Clean CA, and Electric Drive 805. There is a strong charging network in Santa Barbara to support  going electric! The City has several public stations around town– here’s how to use them and where they are located. Another great way to find public chargers in the area is through Chargehub.  

Battery energy storage is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and save utility cost. When tied to solar, it can keep your building running during power shut offs and other emergency events.  There are a variety of batteries on the market to choose from and many reputable installers in the Santa Barbara area to help you pick the best system for your building. For more information and resources, check out SCE’s Battery Energy Storage System website and CEC’s Energy Storage Workshops. The Solarize program from the CEC also offers vetted special pricing on batteries. 

Measuring your building’s energy and water performance is a great way to manage and improve efficiency. Check out the Energy Star Portfolio Manager, it’s a free tool to help you with your benchmarking goals! 

Public Works can help with that!

Climate and Resilience

We are so excited you asked! There are lots of ways to reduce your carbon footprint, but here are a few important changes you can make: 

  • drive less. Try public transit or other modes of alternative transportation, like biking or walking! 
  •  eat local. Support local farmers and buy groceries at the farmers markets or sign up for a CSA!
  • adopt renewable energy. Get solar and back it up with battery storage.
  • improve your home’s energy efficiency. Weatherize your home by replacing windows and doors, and adding insulation. Replace your old appliances with Energy Star ones and invest in a solar heat pump!
  • reduce your waste. Consuming (purchasing) less to begin with is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Also, divert food scraps to compost and recycle when you can! 

To measure your carbon footprint and find more ways to reduce your impact check out Cool California!

The City of Santa Barbara reached its carbon target of 7% below 1990 levels by 2020 set in the 2012 Climate Action Plan. A new goal will be set in the City’s Climate Action Plan update in 2021–so stay tuned!

The City of Santa Barbara’s Sea Level Rise Adaptation Plan is underway and will address the effects of sea level rise over time. The first phase of the Adaptation Plan is the Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment, which identified areas in the City that are at risk from sea level rise and related hazards through 2100. It will inform potential strategies to address coastal hazards in the future Adaptation Plan. 

The City of Santa Barbara Fire Department created a comprehensive City Wildland Fire Plan in 2004 to protect lives, property, and natural resources threatened by wildland fire. The Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), an update to the Wildland Fire Plan, is under way! The plan identifies high fire hazard areas in the city, presents policies and management actions to reduce wildland fire hazards and impacts, and provides a framework for coordinating community-wide protection efforts. This plan is an important step in resilience as climate-driven drought conditions exacerbates wildfire danger. 

Walk, bike, ride the bus, or hop on the train! There are lots of sustainable ways to get around town. See what the City is doing to promote alternative transportation here!


For residential customers, here is a full list of services with your Marborg account, including green waste, electronic waste, recycling, bulk items, and more! 

Business and apartment owners, learn about services available with this handy guide. Make sure to check out the free offerings by the City and Marborg, including waste assessments, bin cleanings, indoor bins for purchase, and more!

Residential customers, learn how to set up service, pay your bills, and about trash rates here.

Businesses and apartment owners, you can learn how to set up service and estimate your rates here.

Not sure how to get rid of something? Use our search tool to find out how!

We are so glad you asked because it’s really important to know what can and can’t go in the blue bin. Unfortunately, we cannot recycle everything, and when trash items end up at our recycling facilities it takes extra resources to get them to the landfill. Here’s a handy brochure (in English and Spanish) covering what’s recyclable. You might even want to print it out and put it near where you collect recycling as a reminder!

The CRV program is run by the state, you can learn more about it here. In Santa Barbara, there are two official CRV redemption centers: Downtown Recycling “ABOP” Center (132 Nopalitos Way) and Santa Barbara Iron and Metal Recyclers (709 East Gutierrez Street).

Thanks for helping us keep our city clean! There’s a few ways you can report graffiti:

You can also join help in our graffiti abatement efforts by calling Looking Good Santa Barbara at (805) 897-2526.

Illegal dumping is the placement of unwanted items in locations other than the owner’s trash or recycling containers. This includes items like couches, mattresses, bags of trash, etc. being left on the curbside, sidewalk or parkway. 

 If you witness a dumping incident, contact our Code Enforcement Office at 564-5686. Try to note details like a description of the person, the address they came from or returned to, make/model/color of vehicle if applicable, and the dumping location. You can report the incident anonymously. 

If you see items that have been illegally dumped but not who did it, contact Marborg at 805-963-1852. Please note the closest street address for faster service.

Check this out for information about how to dispose of your bulky unwanted items and ways to discourage illegal dumping on your property.