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Waste Recycling Plan Draws Little Public Reaction

May 02, 1991|LORI GRANGE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A multimillion-dollar proposal for an array of new recycling programs aimed at reducing deposits in Glendale's landfill drew no public reaction this week at the first of two hearings, despite officials' claims that the plan may mean a "lifestyle change" for residents.

A draft of the city's Source Reduction and Recycling Element, designed to meet a state mandate requiring cities by the year 2000 to cut by half the amount of garbage deposited in dumps, was presented Tuesday to the City Council.

"It really isn't a thrilling job to discuss what you're going to do with your garbage," said Mayor Ginger Bremberg, after no one responded to her invitation to comment on the draft. "Well, garbage is big business in this state, folks, and our share is over $16 million."

The proposal is expected to cost about $16.8 million through 1995. Later, an additional $8.7 million will be needed to build a facility for separating recyclable materials such as lumber, paper and other products, said Kerry Morford, assistant director of public works.

Aside from the separation facility, the proposal calls for community centers where residents can drop off recyclable goods; a residential composting program for yard wastes; expanded recycling programs for businesses and apartment buildings; asphalt and concrete recycling and more salvaging of trash already dumped in the Scholl Canyon Landfill, Morford said.

"We have to develop recycling and waste diversion as a habit," he said. "It will be a lifestyle change. But I'm confident that the public over time is going to develop the environmental consciousness that is necessary."

Fees for trash collection and other services eventually may increase to help cover the costs, but the city now is looking at other revenue sources, Morford said.

For instance, some funds may be obtained from a soon-to-be-developed system in which methane gas produced by decaying trash at the landfills is captured and used in place of costlier natural gas at the city's power plant.

Glendale residents, businesses and industry generate about 350,000 tons of trash each year. About 10% is diverted from the landfill through voluntary recycling and the city's relatively new curbside recycling program.

The Integrated Waste Management Act, passed in November, 1989, establishes a two-stage requirement for reducing the amount of wastes deposited in landfills. Cities must develop plans to divert 25% of their trash from dumps by 1995 and 50% by the year 2000.

An initial draft of Glendale's plan was approved by a city advisory committee and reviewed last fall by the state Integrated Waste Management Board. After a second public hearing in June, the City Council must approve a final draft and submit the plan to the state by July 1, said George Miller, director of public works.

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