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Green LA Plan - 2007: WASTE

LA City Councilmember Greig Smith on waste management

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2007 - City Councilmember Greig Smith:

We passed a law in California in 1990 called AB 939, which said we should recycle 50 percent of your trash by the year 2002. L.A. does a great job; today, we recycle 62 percent of our trash. We’re doing a magnificent job. The problem is that in 1990 when we started, we sent 3,500 tons of trash every day to dumps. Today, we send 3,500 tons of trash every day to dumps.

All we’ve done is recycle our growth, and that’s not good enough.

If Los Angeles wants to be a green city, it has to get rid of landfills. Landfills pollute the earth; they pollute the water. Most importantly, as we look at global warming, they pollute the air. Methane gas emissions from landfills are one of the worst destroyers of the ozone. We can stop that, and we can stop it by allocation of technology and better ways to deal with trash.

I introduced a program called Renew L.A. which was approved by the City Council, that says:

1) we will increase our recycling and reuse,

2) we will view trash not as a problem but as a resource,

3) we will reduce our use of landfills and eliminate them by the year 2025, and most importantly,

4) we will generate one-third of the power to meet our goals on green energy and renewable energy from trash.

I am very proud to say that Los Angeles has a proposal to build the first municipal trash and energy plant that is clean, environmentally sound, does not pollute, and creates a net positive for the environment instead of a net negative like landfills do.

We hope to make a very big announcement later on this year that Los Angeles will lead the nation and join the rest of the world in dealing with this trash as a resource rather than a pollutant, that we’ll take it out of the water, take it out of the air, and create green power for the Department of Water and Power to meet its goals and make our communities safer places to live, better places to live, and clean the environment.

Edited by Carolyn Allen
| los angeles | waste management |


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