Other cities have zero waste policies but L.A.’s new contract requirements are being touted as the nation’s toughest, and are being studied carefully by New York City, San Diego and others.
Six years ago, when I moved from a bungalow to a swank apartment near Venice Beach, I was dismayed to learn my building had no recycling bin. Instead, a single, beat-up dumpster sat behind the structure in an alleyway to receive unsorted trash from residents in all nine units.
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,
Earth Day is the birthday of the modern environmental movement in the U.S. and across the globe. Today, on this 44th Earth Day, the City of Los Angeles – the second largest in the nation and a mighty economic engine on the West Coast—celebrates its commitment to environmental protections and sustainability with a model Zero Waste ordinance just signed into law by Mayor Eric Garcetti. The days when the city sent three to four million tons of trash to landfills every year from apartment and commercial buildings are ending. Now, Los Angeles is set to achieve the highest recycling rates and best standards of environmental protection from the greenhouse gas emissions, air and groundwater pollution, and loss of recyclable material resources associated with our waste management.
Landfilling or burning millions of tons of trash subjects our residents and our environment to a distressing assault. Landfills and poorly regulated facilities disproportionately impact low income communities of color—as these communities are either employed or housed in close proximity,
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,
Now that the L.A. mayoral race is over, its winner, Eric Garcetti, has much to do to help advance an environmental agenda for Los Angeles. He has a strong record of environmental protection and I’m confident that as mayor he can lead the City to a big and bold vision of environmental sustainability. There are several major issues L.A. will need to address during the next four years. A comprehensive report prepared by UCLA serves as a more in depth analysis than this blog can undertake, but here are some of the major issues that Mayor Garcetti should undertake.
This next year is going to be critical to advancing a future that relies less on landfills and more on reducing, reusing and recycling. Of immediate priority, Eric Garcetti needs to push hard with the City Council to vote on the single-use plastic bag ban ordinance,
There’s a growing impatience amongst those committed to pushing L.A. to meet its ambitious Zero Waste goals. For years, the Don’t Waste LA Coalition, which includes Sierra Club, Coalition for Clean Air, Sustain L.A. and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), has been pushing to address the large portion of trash that goes to landfills from businesses and large apartment buildings. Addressing this sector will be a game changer for L.A. And after an arduous process with a multitude of hearings, workshops, and meetings, we’re ready to move forward.
Right now, the open permit system that handles waste from businesses and large apartment buildings has failed us. Its bottom barrel competition has left us with a measly 19 percent diversion rate for businesses in L.A. And, despite the best effort from business lobbyists to defend this type of program, we’ve seen a lack of effort to live up to the environmental stewardship demanded in a city like Los Angeles.
Last week the L.A. Bureau of Sanitation released its initial draft implementation plan for moving to an exclusive franchise for businesses and large apartment buildings in the City of Los Angeles. As you recall, at the November vote, the L.A, City Council asked the Bureau to return in 90 days to provide an update on how to implement an exclusive franchise. The product released today demonstrates that the Bureau has taken to heart the resounding message from L.A. City Council that it wants an environmentally forward-thinking plan that protects workers and communities, in addition to stabilizing chaotic waste rates. Even though I have only had a little bit of time to review it, I am very impressed with the initial draft implementation plan.
The stakes are high as outlined in the report. A little under 70 percent of the waste L.A. sends to landfills comes from businesses and large apartment buildings.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve blogged about waste reform in the City of Los Angeles. Following is a summary of where we are with the proposed waste reform so folks just tuning in, and those who have followed the twists and turns, have one central place for background as our the city council takes up this important issue in the coming weeks.
Disposal of waste is perhaps one of the most pressing environmental issues the City of Los Angeles faces. Los Angeles sends approximately three million tons of trash per year to landfills. This practice exacts a large environmental toll. The City has already promised to become a zero waste City by 2030. This entails interim goals of achieving 70 percent diversion from landfills by 2013 and 90 percent by 2025.
L.A.’s commercial and multi-family sectors are responsible for approximately 70 percent of the waste the City of Los Angeles send to landfills,
Sandra Zebi is no stranger to the challenges posed by urban waste. Now the owner of a vintage clothing store in Marina del Rey, Zebi was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, which produced 14,000 tons of waste each day.
Ironically inspired by her urban surroundings, Zebi created art using recycled materials. Moving to L.A., she renovated a run-down building and now uses it to house her shop, which is filled with recycled clothing and art.
Zebi loves L.A. but she is not a fan of our waste and recycling system. Like many small business owners she has found that her store does not have a recycling option.
Because of her tenacious environmental consciousness, Zebi seeks other options. Some of her actions are illegal or frowned upon by city government. A business partner, Vanessa, for example, gives bags of recyclable materials to neighborhood homeless men who reside near their store.