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LA City Council Votes to Overhaul Waste Management System

The Los Angeles City Council voted to approve the Zero Waste LA exclusive franchise system last week, a decision that will make Los Angeles a national leader in sustainable waste collection and set the city on track for diverting 90 percent of its waste from landfills by 2025. The new system gives all city residents and businesses access to recycling and expanded compost collection, according to Don't Waste LA, a coalition of community, environmental, faith, and labor organizations working to increase the city's recycling and composting.

City Councilwoman Nury Martinez underscored the long process the city has undertaken with a goal of increasing recycling, reducing greenhouse gases, and lifting health and safety standards in one of the most dangerous industries in the nation. "I championed Zero Waste LA from day one as an environmental justice advocate. Now, six years later, I'm thrilled to cast my vote for this historic legislation as the councilwoman from the San Fernando Valley. I applaud all of our City Council and community advocates who have remained steadfast on this journey to ensure that LA will lead the way to modern and sustainable waste management for cities across the country," she said. "This effort will help communities that have been traditionally hurt by this industry. I'll always be an environmental justice advocate at heart, and today's vote makes me very proud."

City Councilmember Paul Koretz, co-author of the motion to create Zero Waste LA, added, "I have no doubt that the businesses selected to service Angelenos in this historic new system will meet the rigorous standards we have established and provide all of our city's residents with quality customer service and recycling. Best of all, we will dramatically reduce waste truck trips on our streets and greenhouse gas emissions. I have been a champion of this since day one and, after six years of work, the vision that we set forth with Zero Waste LA is now a national model. New York, San Diego, and other cities across the country are seeking to follow in our footsteps."

"This will change the face of L.A.," Councilman Jose Huizar tweeted Dec. 9.

Robert Nothoff, director of Don't Waste LA, said the organization "proved that real change begins at the local level. This local coalition has achieved tremendous environmental benefits for all Angelenos, as Zero Waste LA will help LA reach zero waste which will reduce greenhouse gases across the city by 2.6 million tons, divert 1 million tons of waste from landfills by 2025, and establish rigorous workplace protections in what is currently the fifth most dangerous industry in the nation."

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