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,