Santa Monica Lookout
Santa Monica City Council Hears Ambitious Zero Waste Plan
By Jason Islas
March 22, 2013 -- It could soon become illegal for Santa Moinca residents as well as businesses to throw plastic bottles in their trash cans instead of recycling them.
The draft Zero Waste plan, presented to the City Council Tuesday, could mandate recycling for households and commercial establishments in order to dramatically reduce the amount of waste produced in Santa Monica by 2030.
The City could look at drafting ordinances that would prohibit residents from throwing away recyclable items, such as plastic bottles and cardboard boxes, and could lead to bi-weekly trash pickup in order to meet the draft Zero Waste Strategic Operations Plan's goal of diverting 95 percent of Santa Monica's waste away from landfills over the next 17 years.
“There are really two sides of this,” Council member Kevin McKeown said. “One is how do we recycle the stuff we're stuck with and the other is how do we keep from getting that stuff in the first place.”
McKeown said that he would like to see outreach to new residents that would explain the City's waste-disposal and recycling programs.
Such a program would fall under the proposed Plan's sixth goal: Zero Waste Culture Change.
“Zero waste is a change of perspective,” staff said. “It requires rethinking what is traditionally regarded as trash and instead treating all materials as valued resources.”
As a result, staff estimates spending some $44,500 on “behavior change marketing” in the next two years. In addition to the education and outreach component, the plan could require residents and businesses alike to seperate food waste from other waste.
The Plan would also expand the City's recycling program and require residents' to recycle items like mattresses, carpet and textiles.
The Plan would also move the City to a biweekly trash pick up schedule, so residents would be required to sort dry waste from wet waste so that items that might decompose faster would be placed in bins that would be picked up more frequently.
Resource Recovery and Recycling Manager Kim Braun said that by reducing the diverting the stuff people throw into their black bins (reserved for non-recyclable waste) into their blue or green bins (for recycling and composting), they can already save money.
An alternative rate structure could encourage that further, she said, especially since the City anticipates the cost of trash disposal will increase as the Puente Hills landfill, is expected to close by the end of the year.
In addition to changing the local culture, the Plan calls for the City to take an active role in working with federal, state and regional agencies and community groups to demand that companies cut back on excessive packaging that is hard to recycle.
“One of the key objects for us and any city in the country... is to reach out and have the manufactures take these materials back,” said Resource Recovery and Recycling Manager Kim Braun.
Santa Monica would be one of some 30 cities throughout the country looking to implement such a plan.
“We have to make sure before we put anything in place that we have the infrastructure in place to process the materials,” Braun said.
For example, to facilitate a composting program, the City may need a nearby anaerobic digestion facility where organic waste can be converted to “a residual compost material.”
But Braun admits that there isn't much space for such a facility near Santa Monica.
“To see this through to fruition would be wonderful,” she said.
|copyrightCopyright 1999-2013 surfsantamonica.com. All Rights Reserved.|