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Following a historic vote by the Los Angeles City Council, multiple members of the City Council held a press conference alongside 200 members of the Don’t Waste LA Coalition in celebration of the final approval of the Zero Waste LA exclusive franchise system.

Zero Waste LA will make Los Angeles a national leader in modern and sustainable waste collection, and set the city on track for diverting 90 percent of its waste from landfills by 2025. With this new system, all city residents and businesses will have access to recycling, expanded compost collection and improved job quality.

Councilwoman Nury Martinez underscored the long process that 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. The Councilwoman said, “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. 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.”

The policy has also been lauded by national organizations including the Natural Resources Defense Council. Linda Escalante, an Environmental Policy Advocate for the organization, stated “The Natural Resources Defense Council applauds the City of LA on a historic shift to a system that will now turn waste into a valuable resource instead of burying it in landfills. Zero Waste LA establishes a framework for efficient organics collection, and will prioritize food recovery for needy families instead of tossing our food into a landfill to rot.”

The high workplace standards set in Zero Waste LA will protect workers in what is ranked as the fifth most dangerous job in the U.S. Ron Herrera, secretary treasurer of Teamsters Local 396 concluded, “Waste workers in LA will now be able to provide a decent living for their families without putting their lives at risk.”

Published in the January 2017 Edition of American Recycler News