Californians have always been at the forefront of sustainability.
Our cities and counties, including the County of Los Angeles, continue to be recognized for excellence and achievement in the restoration of multi-use ecosystems and the development of sustainable capital projects that consistently earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental design (LEED) certification.
We have become master recyclers and maintain some of the highest recycling rates in the nation. In Los Angeles alone, we recycle nearly two thirds of our trash. But despite this success, we are now at a critical juncture in how to sustainably manage our waste.
Conversion technologies offer the answer for handling those materials that just cannot be recycled.
Conversion technologies can convert trash into renewable energy or biofuels as well as other useful byproducts. These technologies have been embraced by governments and citizens around the globe. Countries such as Japan, Israel and Spain have relied on them for many years for the management of municipal waste because they can increase recycling rates and reduce air emissions.
Development of these technologies in California would help spur a new and innovative industry producing clean energy and products from waste materials we would otherwise send to landfills. It would also generate new skilled, green collar jobs and support our local economies. Instead of exporting trash, jobs, and financial resources, California can build local, sustainable ecosystems.
Given Los Angeles County’s limited potential for developing new in-county landfills, the Board of Supervisors foresaw the need to implement a comprehensive, integrated, and sustainable strategy to manage its solid waste. This strategy placed high priority on maximizing waste reduction and recycling as well as developing alternatives to landfilling such as conversion technologies. The Board subsequently approved a multi-phased program aimed at promoting the development of advanced conversion technology facilities in the region. The imminent closure of Puente Hills Landfill later this year further heightens the urgency of this task — our success is critical in ensuring Los Angeles County residents’ health and safety and the environment are protected.