Imagine walking outside and breathing fresh air instead of today’s exhaust. Imagine taking your lunch scraps to a compost bin while a modern trash truck makes its way down your street. And then imagine the convenience of tossing your recyclables into a blue bin, and knowing that this has lowered your trash bill while helping the environment.
Los Angeles is on track to becoming a national environmental leader with its landmark Zero Waste LA system, which covers waste and recycling collection for apartments and businesses. In April, the Zero Waste LA policy was adopted by Los Angeles’ City Council. The system will carve out 11 exclusive waste franchise zones that will reduce truck traffic and increase recycling and composting – with three of the zones designed to incubate small waste haulers’ growing businesses and protecting long-term competition.
The next step — the Request for Proposals, or RFP — was just approved by the Board of Public Works on June 11,
On Tuesday — April Fools’ Day no less — Los Angeles’ City Council nearly unanimously approved the Zero Waste LA Franchise System, which would make it the first and largest city nationally to adopt a robust plan to move towards Zero Waste. The Zero Waste LA Franchise System, under the direction of the City of Los Angeles’ Bureau of Sanitation, will transform the antiquated waste and recycling system that currently serves apartment dwellers and businesses. In its place will emerge an innovative model for the nation. This new system will carve the city into 11 waste service zones intended to boost recycling and provide strong customer service – a similar success found in the city’s single-family waste and recycling programs.
The Zero Waste LA franchise plan specifically requires trash-hauling companies to bid for exclusive contracts to operate in the 11 waste service zones. This will help the city to meet its Zero Waste goals,
You may have seen Puente Hills while driving the 60 Freeway east of Los Angeles. It looks like a 700-acre, 450-foot-high, tree-covered mountain. However, only a few small hills were there when the facility opened in 1957. The mountain itself is made from seven decades of Southern California’s waste.
Puente Hills Landfill accepted its final truckloads of waste yesterday. Today, what was the country’s largest landfill is closed – a milestone in the environmental history of Southern California and the country.
Puente Hills had been taking in a third of the waste of Los Angeles County, as much as 13,000 tons per day at its recent peak. While some workers will remain for the next year-plus, putting a final cover on the site, hundreds of trucks that used to dump there every day will be headed elsewhere. Don’t Waste LA and others concerned for our environment and communities are working to make sure those trucks eventually head somewhere other than the next landfill on a new hillside.
This week the Partnership for Working Families released Transforming Trash in Urban America, a report that underscores the urgent need to reform the way America’s largest cities deal with their trash.
The report reviewed the waste management infrastructure of the top 37 metropolitan areas in the United States and found that environmentally unsound waste disposal processes create strain on local budgets, degrade a city’s quality of life and seriously accelerate climate change. Nearly half of the cities involved have recycling rates in the teens or lower— significantly below the national average of 34 percent.
Transforming Trash presents San Francisco, Seattle and San Jose as models for reform. These cities have created sustainable recycling infrastructure that has notably decreased the amount of trash sent to landfills, while creating good jobs and stimulating local economies.
According to the report, the ideal sustainable recycling system has the following five elements.
Progress, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Witness the reaction to today’s landmark L.A. City Council vote, approving the implementation plan for a far-reaching overhaul of the city’s multi-family and commercial waste and recycling system.
The plan, which passed 10-3, puts L.A. squarely in the forefront of a growing national movement to transform the way cities deal with waste. For the first time companies will have to meet a set of environmental and labor standards in order to operate. Under this exclusive franchise system, the city will be divided into 11 zones, with companies competing to be the sole operator within each zone.
Among those celebrating the City Council’s decision were environmentalists, waste workers and small business owners, who as part of the Don’t Waste LA coalition have driven the campaign to reform L.A.’s waste and recycling industry. Less enthusiastic were certain industry lobbyists and big business advocates,