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Sustainable City Commission Receives an Update on Waste Reduction

Release Date: 2018-01-31

Long Beach’s Public Works-Environmental Services Bureau (ESB) came to the Sustainable City Commission last week to provide an update on waste reduction programs and accomplishments. ESB is responsible for many services in Long Beach, including refuse, recycling, street sweeping, parking enforcement, and the new Clean Team initiative. Staff were proud to report that Long Beach is ahead of state mandated waste reduction goals of 7.6 pounds per person per day, with an average of just 3.9 pounds. ESB is always looking for new programs and policies to further reduce this number and the amount of waste created in Long Beach.

Did you know that ESB provides 2 free bulky item pickups per year as a part of your City trash service? This service helps residents properly dispose of large items rather than illegally dumping them. Starting in February, mattresses will be recycled through a new partnership with the nonprofit Mattress Recycling Council. This is a huge source of waste - 16,000 mattresses collected last year – that will now be recycled. ESB also partners with EDCO for Household Hazardous Waste disposal events each month. Every 2nd Saturday, and they recently added every 4th Saturday, from 9am to 2pm, you can bring your e-waste, old paint, used motor oil, cleaning chemicals, and other hazardous waste to EDCO (2755 California Ave) for safe and free disposal.

Food waste is another issue ESB is addressing through its partnership with local nonprofit, Food Finders. Food Finders collects excess food for donation and distributes it to those in need in our community. Waste Diversion Officer, Erin Rowland said, “the highest priority for food waste is to get it to those who need it.” 205 Long Beach businesses participate as of 2016, including 77 schools which donated 131,000 pounds of food that would have otherwise gone to waste. Additionally, ESB hosts monthly compost workshops to encourage residents to recycle food scraps at home.

ESB is always looking for new ideas and partnerships to reduce waste in Long Beach. In 2017, they held the first annual “Recycle Your Bicycle” Program, collecting 41 bicycles and refurbishing 27 for donation; the first annual “Shoe Recycling” donation program, collecting 475 pairs of shoes and 120 sweatshirts for donation; and the first semi-annual Document Shredding event, where 7.92 tons of documents were safely shredded and recycled. Environmental Services also heads Long Beach’s new Clean Team, a city-wide initiative to improve the health and appearance of neighborhoods. This multi-department effort cleans streets and alleys, and works to address the root causes of dumping and litter.

The Commission also received a preview of the Residential GHG Reduction workshop presentation which will launch in the spring. The presentation video is available to watch online. Join us at the next Sustainable City Commission Meeting on March 22nd.