The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Photo by John Schreiber.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Photo by John Schreiber.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday set a goal of diverting 80 percent of waste from unincorporated communities away from landfills by 2025, equivalent to disposing no more than three pounds per person per day.

“I know we all look forward to when nothing is wasted,” Supervisor Don Knabe said.

To reach its goal, the county plans to expand reuse and recycling programs and focus on educating residents and businesses.

Specific initiatives to be considered, subject to future board approval, include:

— setting tougher restrictions on dumping construction materials, including a requirement to divert 100 percent of asphalt and concrete away from landfills;

— expanding the type of materials that may be recycled;

— an ordinance that would hold manufacturers partially responsible for the cost of collecting hard-to-dispose of items such as pharmaceuticals, mattresses, carpets and batteries;and

— the development of composting, anaerobic digestion and chipping facilities to help businesses comply with state law requiring the recycling of organic waste.

The county’s plans extend beyond the unincorporated areas, which encompass roughly 1 million residents and 20,000 businesses. Regional efforts will include working with cities and landfill operators to increase the number of household hazardous waste and electronic waste collection centers, and promoting legislation to encourage conversion technologies.

“We need to find a way to decrease our reliance on landfills and begin converting waste to energy,” Supervisor Michael Antonovich said. The district he represents includes four landfills.

The county’s more than 10 million residents and its businesses dispose of nearly 9 million tons of solid waste annually. State policy aims for at least 75 percent of waste statewide to be reduced at its source, recycled or composted by 2020.

Based on today’s vote by the board, a working group led by the Department of Public Works will reach out to residents, businesses, waste industry representatives, public agencies, environmentalists and other stakeholders to get feedback on its proposals.

The group will then look at funding and the timing of specific initiatives, each of which will need to be returned to the board for its approval.

By 2045, the working group aims to divert more than 95 percent of waste from unincorporated areas away from landfills.

City News Service

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