Glendale officials, reacting to a report that predicts the city's only landfill will reach capacity in 14 years, this week proposed a mandatory recycling program and a ban on the dumping of trash from Los Angeles and Burbank.
The ban on dumping, coupled with other waste-reduction programs, could extend the life of Scholl Canyon landfill from 35 to 53 years, according to a Glendale waste management report issued last week.
The ban will cause the greatest impact on private refuse haulers in Los Angeles, who will be forced to truck rubbish to private dumps in the San Fernando Valley that already receive most of Los Angeles' garbage, county officials said.
Glendale officials said the amount of trash dumped at Scholl Canyon has tripled in the last 10 years as other regional landfills closed. The lack of landfills throughout the Los Angeles area has reached "a crisis stage," said George Miller, Glendale's public works director.
During a study session this week with county officials and representatives of nearby cities, Glendale City Council members said a number of steps need to be taken to extend the life of Scholl and to develop alternative disposal processes in the future.
One of the most significant and immediate steps calls for a ban on all trash from Los Angeles and Burbank. The city also plans to exclude trash from about 40 other cities and communities that use Scholl.
Under an ordinance expected to be adopted next week, only Pasadena, La Canada Flintridge and a few other communities in the San Gabriel Valley will be permitted to continue dumping at Scholl after Dec. 26. Those communities are the cities of South Pasadena, San Marino and Sierra Madre and unincorporated county areas bordering those cities, such as Altadena, La Crescenta and Montrose.
An estimated 811,000 tons of rubbish from Los Angeles is being dumped annually at Scholl, accounting for 46% of all the trash deposited in Glendale, according to Miller. Last year, Los Angeles dumped 442,000 tons of trash, accounting for 40%.
The waste management report, completed after a year of study, recommends a number of controversial solutions, including construction of a waste-to-energy plant in which trash would be incinerated and the energy produced used to generate electricity. A similar proposal in Los Angeles--the LANCER project--was put on indefinite hold earlier this year because of widespread opposition from environmentalists.
Glendale plans to conduct its own study on the technical feasibility of such a project. Glendale Councilman Larry Zarian said construction of a waste-to-energy plant "could cost in the millions." He suggested trash collection fees be raised citywide to pay for future construction of such a plant. "The time is here. Money is going to be the final answer" to resolving waste disposal problems, Zarian said.
Glendale officials concede that a mandatory recycling program would be controversial. Glendale Councilman Jerold Milner called the idea "slightly onerous."
"Glendale has to demonstrate that we are leaders," said Milner during the study session Tuesday. "Garbage and trash isn't just our problem or your problem, it's every person's problem." Milner suggested a mandatory program be phased in over a period of 18 months to two years and require all households, including apartment dwellers and businesses, to separate recyclable materials from their trash.
Miller said about 25% of residents could be expected to participate in a voluntary program, saving about 4,000 tons a year from being dumped at the landfill. However, he said the city could expect to collect about 14,500 tons of recyclable material annually in a mandatory program.
Glendale Mayor Ginger Bremberg proposed the city adopt a stringent ordinance that would require compliance by every resident. "We need to have a very clear and enforceable ordinance with penalties," she said, suggesting that residents monitor neighbors to see that they comply. "We could bring in Neighborhood Watch with cameras," she added.
Impact on Other Cities
The waste reduction program at Scholl also may require cities still permitted to dump there to implement mandatory recycling programs as well.
Pasadena Mayor John C. Crowley told Glendale officials at the study session that his city would cooperate in initiating a recycling program, which already is under study. He said Pasadena "has to be a part" of an areawide waste management program.
Jack Hastings, mayor pro tem of La Canada Flintridge, said that proposed citywide recycling in his area "eventually has to go to mandatory." Both mayors said their cities will launch independent studies of waste management.
Despite an apparent consensus among city officials to consider mandatory recycling, Richard Stevens, a Glendale consultant to private trash haulers, warned that the concept may be controversial. Speaking as a resident, Stevens said, "We may not like a mandatory recycling program."
A voluntary curbside recycling program among 1,040 households in Glendale, launched a year ago, has gained 27% to 30% acceptance, according to Miller. He has proposed that monthly trash fees be increased by 26 cents to pay for expansion of the voluntary program citywide, possibly by late this year.