On September 26th, the City of Los Angeles began the final step in the process of overhauling its dirty and antiquated commercial waste hauling system by unveiling its selection of waste haulers that will service Angelenos in the new Zero Waste LA exclusive franchise system.
After a long and extensive process, our City appears destined to fulfill its true potential as a national leader when it comes to cleaning our environment, increasing access to recycling, and developing the opportunity to create thousands of good green jobs that will propel our local economy. This would not be possible without the skill and leadership of our local elected leaders, and the vision of the Don’t Waste LA Coalition of which the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club is a proud member.
We have supported Zero Waste LA because it addresses not only the quantity of waste we generate, but also its toxicity, its contribution to climate change, and the important links between waste reduction and corporate responsibility.
For more than a century, as one of the nation’s largest and most influential environmental organizations with more than two million members, the Sierra Club has constantly advocated for policies that clean our air, protect our water, and promote the use of clean alternative fuels. We have supported Zero Waste LA because it addresses not only the quantity of waste we generate, but also its toxicity, its contribution to climate change, and the important links between waste reduction and corporate responsibility.
Don’t Waste LA emerged as a strong, multi-faceted coalition that unified environmental, community, faith, and worker rights organizations under a common cause -- mitigating the harmful impacts of our commercial waste hauling system on the environment and seizing the opportunity to transform it into a cleaner more sustainable system. Before Zero Waste LA, thousands of residents and small businesses lacked access to recycling, and their only option was to send their waste, including recyclables, to overcrowded and increasingly shrinking landfills. Overburdened landfills result in harmful pollution, including methane emissions from food waste, which disproportionately impact some of our city’s most underprivileged communities. Men and women driving waste trucks and sorting waste toiled under conditions that put their health and safety on the line every day. On top of all of this, our city was falling behind in meeting both state and local zero waste goals for recycling and diversion from landfills.
Zero Waste LA will help Los Angeles address all of the above mentioned issues by diverting 1-million tons of waste from landfills every year by 2025, and eliminating more than two million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. That is the equivalent of taking 517,000 vehicles off of the road. Additionally, the new policy will incorporate $200 million in new infrastructure development, which includes new, clean waste truck fleets, and state-of-the-art waste facilities that will allow us to achieve our lofty goals. And lastly, the Zero Waste LA system has the potential to create thousands of new, green jobs for Angelenos.
However, the fight is not yet won. In order to reap these tremendous benefits, our city leaders must stay the course. It has been more than five years since the process to transform our commercial waste hauling system began. Now, our city leaders will begin the final leg of the journey towards zero waste. By selecting waste haulers that have met the high standards set by Zero Waste LA, the City has made a commitment to both current and future generations of Angelenos that they will enjoy a cleaner environment, safer working conditions, and the ability to power our local economy with recycling for everyone.
The Angeles Chapter of The Sierra Club encourages our city leaders to stay focused now that the finish line is in sight. Let’s make sure that Zero Waste LA starts on time so that, next summer, all Angelenos will be breathing easier knowing the days of the old and dirty system are over.
Los Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club