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A few words about the waste management in Los Angeles, USA

A few words about the waste management in Los Angeles, USA

About Solid Resources

The City collects refuse, recyclables, yard trimmings, and bulky items from more than 750,000 homes. That´s an average of 6,652 tons per day. Solid Resources personnel are dedicated to efficiently managing and operating:

  • 750 vehicles that collect refuse and recyclables
  • Closure of City landfills
  • Regional green waste mulching operations
  • Public education programs that teach backyard composting
  • A recycling program that diverts more materials from landfills - paper, cans, glass, yard trimmings - than is mandated by AB939 mandated (AB939 is the 1989 state law requiring cities to reduce flows to landfills) - about 220,000 tons per year
  • Research programs exploring alternatives to traditional landfill disposal

About Solid Resources

Facts & Figures

Solid Resources Citywide Recycling

Responsible for implementation and documentation of the Citywide plan for a 70% reduction by the year 2015.

  • Multifamily Recycling - Implementation of Citywide Program by 2008.
  • LAUSD - Implementation of Curbside Recycling and Recycling Presentations in 400 Elementary Schools by 2008.

Provides technical waste prevention and recycling assistance to business, industry, institutions, and multi-family dwellings. SRCRD oversees Household Hazardous Waste Programs, Used Oil Recycling, and Composting.

Target Population:

  • 586,470 multi-family dwellings
  • 132,329 businesses
  • 43,000 City of Los Angeles employees
  • No. of personnel - 12
Household Hazardous Waste services provided

Mobile collection - started in February 1994, replaced one-day roundups, operated at 24 locations each year for six days over two weeks at each location to receive HHW from the public by appointment.

  • 2.6 million pounds recycled
  • No. of personnel - 8

Used oil recycling - Sanitation receives a grant from the State which provided funding for a program where 62 UNOCAL stations and 19 Chief Auto Parts stores became certified as used oil collection centers and container collection centers. Saturday community collection events are also provided.

Solid Resources Collection

Collection of recyclables, yard trimmings, refuse from 720,000 households and dead animals Citywide.

Recycling and Collection Services provided

  • Recyclables collection weekly (manual with some automated).

    Current households served - 750,000 (100% of City)

  • Separated Yard trimmings collection weekly (automated)

    Current households served - 750,000 (100% of City)

  • Refuse collection

    Households served - 750,000 (100% of City)

  • Free Special collections

    Bulky items - on call
    Appliances - on call
    Horse manure - weekly (only to previous customers)
    Bulky brush - on call once per year
    Weekend cleanups - Council request
    Dead Animals - on call

  • Total program - The complete recycling, yard trimmings, refuse and special collection program includes:

    No. of personnel - 877

Disposal of Refuse
  • Disposal sites used by Sanitation for Refuse

    Sunshine Canyon - 860,000 tons/year

Solid Resources Engineering and Construction
  • Closed facilities - Maintained by the Bureau.

    Closed landfills (five) - Bishops Canyon, Branford, Sheldon-Arleta, Toyon Canyon, Lopez Canyon.

Operation and Maintenance of City landfills
  • No. of Personnel - 106
  • Funding - All activities are General Fund supported


The City manages a comprehensive recycling program that annually collects over 240,000 tons of recyclables and 480,000 tons of yard trimmings. Curbside collection, and both "permanent (S.A.F.E. Centers)" and mobile drop-off centers are available for a variety of recyclable materials. With a goal of surpassing the state mandated 50% target for landfill diversion, the Bureau has developed and implemented effective and economically feasible source reduction, buy-recycled, Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP), and reuse programs, activities, and policies for its residential, businesses, and institutional users customers.

Los Angeles Ranked Top Recycler Out of 10 Largest U.S. Cities
A Municipal Recycling Survey in the March 2, 2009 edition of Waste & Recycling News targeted the most populous cities in the United States to gather information about their recycling programs. Cities were ranked based on the recycling of various materials, including but not limited to: Paper, Metal, Plastic, Glass, Bulk and Organic. According to this survey, the City of Los Angeles had the highest recycling rate out of 10 largest U.S. cities.



Recycling Rate



Los Angeles




San Jose




New York




San Diego
























San Antonio



*Source Information: Waste & Recycling News, March 2, 2009 edition
**City of L.A. Rate Update: Los Angeles´ rate increased from 62% to 65% (table data updated June 11, 2009)


The Bureau collects over one million tons of refuse annually from 750,000 customers including single and small multiple family residences. In addition, the Bureau´s container rollout program includes systematic replacement of trash containers that have exceeded their life expectancy. Container maintenance and field repairs are also conducted for over 750 customers per day.

The Bureau also provides specialized services such as collection of white goods, on call bulky items, seasonal bulky brush, and other specialized collection services. The Bureau has recently acquired and begun operating the City-owned Central Los Angeles Refuse Transfer Station (CLARTS) to reduce contractual costs to manage and transport materials to recycling and disposal facilities.

Special Materials: Hazardous Waste

What are Special Materials?

Everyday household products that are under your kitchen sink or in your garage, items such as paint, paint thinners, cleaners and solvents, used oil, furniture polish and unwanted electronic equipment are household hazardous wastes (HHW).

Not In Your Trash!

HHW that you wish to discard should not be placed in your regular trash. Such wastes can be corrosive, toxic, ignitable, flammable, or reactive and co-mingling them with your regular trash could create a dangerous situation. Much of your regular trash goes to landfills where HHW can contaminate soil and seep into ground water.

What is not Household Hazardous Waste

Items such as explosives, ammunition, bio-medical and pathological wastes, radioactive materials, tires, yard waste and ordinary household garbage are not household hazardous waste.

What You Should Do

The Bureau of Sanitation has established a number of permanent collection sites throughout the City, known as S.A.F.E. CENTERS. These S.A.F.E. CENTERS are open every weekend and provide a timely and convenient way to dispose of your waste. In addition, the Bureau of Sanitation sponsors periodic mobile collection events throughout the City, where residents can drop-off their waste to be disposed properly.

ZDROJ: http://www.lacitysan.org/solid_resources/special/index.htm

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