Greener Path

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The City of Rolling Hills Estates is a community dedicated to preserving open space, public trails and native habitat, and our City has a high level of environmental awareness. Our policies and ordinances mandate clean streets, residences, trails, and commercial areas.

Read on to learn about what the City is doing to protect public health and our environment. At the end we’ve provided links with additional information about what you can do to help in this endeavor. Join us in taking the greener path!



Clean water in our canyons, at the beach, and in Machado Lake, requires that we . . .  reduce storm water pollution and urban runoff, increase water conservation, restore and protect native habitat.



  • Screens the storm drain system to identify and eliminate illicit connections and discharges—only clean water should be discharged to the storm drain system. 
  • Implements a proactive litter abatement program for keeping public rights-of-way, streets, medians, parks, and trails free of litter and debris. All public streets are swept twice per month with accelerated sweeping in the downtown commercial area. 
  • Inspects industrial and commercial businesses to ensure that any outdoor activities/storage are conducted in a manner that does not discharge pollutants to the storm drain system and minimizes the potential for contact of pollutants with storm water runoff. 
  • Furnishes City parks with pet waste collection stations and requires dogs to be on leash. 
  • Prohibits improper disposal of manure by requiring that “Manure shall be kept in an enclosed container designed for such purpose. Manure that is not used for composting must be removed completely from individual properties at least once per week. Manure used for composting must be kept in an enclosed container designed for such purposes.” 
  • Parks are maintained with the minimum amount of fertilizer necessary—playing fields are fertilized twice per year and fully composted top dressing is applied once per year.
  • Implements integrated pest management practices which call for using physical barriers and controls first and when necessary the least toxic chemical control that is effective, e.g., wood chips are used in lieu of herbicide for weed control on horse trails. 
  • Inspects irrigation systems in City parks and recreational areas frequently for broken heads, overspray, and muddy areas. 
  • Adopted the Ahwahnee Water Principles for Resource-Efficient Land  Use
  • Requires new landscapes to be designed to conserve water using a water budget approach. These requirements apply to new landscaping for commercial, office and institutional developments and to developer-installed landscaping in residential subdivisions. 
  • In partnership with the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy is eradicating invasive/exotic plants and conducting habitat enhancement and restoration of the native habitat in the George F Canyon Nature Preserve. This work is funded under a Riparian and Riverine grant by the California Department of Parks and Recreation 2000 Park Bond Act.



Together we have made strong progress in reducing, reusing and recycling solid waste.


  • Achieved 50% reduction in the generation of solid waste since 1990. 
  • The City rolled out a new state-of-the-art, three-cart system, making it easy for residents to recycle household plastic and glass containers, cans, and paper, as well as green waste. As a result, there has been a substantial increase in waste diversion, with Rolling Hills Estates residents consistently keeping more than 60% of their waste out of the trash carts and out of landfills. 
  • Increased curbside collection of used oil by 160% and used oil filters by 590% under the City’s new residential solid waste collection service.
  • The City provides curbside pickup of used oil and filters for recycling along with yard waste and other recyclables. Manure collection and recycling service for horse owners is available through the City’s franchise hauler. The City also provides pickup of bulky items at no extra cost to residents. 
  • Most City parks and many transit stops are equipped with separate beverage container recycling collection containers along with trash cans.
  • A joint Peninsula cities ad in the Concours d’Elegance program magazine promotes used oil and oil filter recycling to auto enthusiasts. 
  • Adopted the Alameda County New Home Construction Green Building Guidelines as a City reference document and encourages the use of the LEED Green Building Rating System for construction projects within the City.

What is the City doing about reducing air pollution and the emissions of greenhouse gases? 


City Council authorized the Mayor to sign the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 7% by 2012—Sierra Club’s Cool Cities initiative.

  • New street sweeping contract requires the use of state-of-the-art equipment (Air Quality Management District certified) that reduces the emission of particulate air pollution from paved roads utilizing less polluting vehicles and/or alternative fuel vehicles. 
  • Municipal riding rings are equipped with water spray systems for dust control and dust control additives are applied periodically in riding rings to further reduce dust generation. 
  • Reduced frequency of solid waste collection to once per week to increase collection efficiency and minimize consumption of fossil fuels, air emissions, as well as wear-and-tear on roads.
  • Converted all traffic signal lights from incandescent to energy-efficient LED, a 90% energy savings.

Find out more about what YOU can do to help below:

City-specific links and contacts:

General Environmental Resources: 

Water & Energy Conservation: 

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW), E-Waste and Universal Waste 

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