The Salinas Valley Solid Waste Authority has won a 2011 Clean Air Award from Breath California Central Coast. The award, which was presented at the end of last week, was the part of the inaugural series presented at the Monterey Plaza Hotel.

According to Breath California Central Coast’ website, California is particularly at risk from the effects of air pollution. Therefore, the group is awarding Clean Air Awards to recognize efforts people and organizations to combat climate change and reduce air pollution.

The Salinas Valley Solid Waste Authority utilizes a number of technologies to reduce their carbon footprint, including the use of bio fuels, solar power, and landfill gas recovery systems.

SVSWA Landfill emissions, which account for 90% of its total emissions, is one of the areas that the authority has focused on, and delivered substantial results. Using a variety of technologies, they have converted some of their waste into alternative fuels or electricity. And although they are only required to achieve a landfill diversion rate of 50%, the authority has already achieved a 70% diversion rate, and hopes to reach 75% by 2015.

Breath California Central Coast’s website reports that this saves 65,000 tons of carbon every year.

The Salinas Valley Solid Waste Authority (SVSWA) is a joint powers agency that includes the local governments from Monterey County, and the cities of Gonzales, Greenfield, King City, Salinas, and Soledad.