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Puente Hills landfill closed for good

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Date: 
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
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From Chapter reports
L.A. city officials and environmentalists say the closure of the L.A. County landfill in Puenta Hills, the nation's largest, marks a shift in future of waste management across the country.
 
You may have seen Puente Hills while driving the 60 freeway east of Los Angeles. It looks like a 700-acre, 450-foot high, tree-covered mountain. However, no mountain was there in 1957, when the facility opened. It’s made of seven decades of Southern California’s waste. 
 
For those concerned with the waste system, the closure of Puente Hills – which has been the final resting place for a third of Los Angeles County’s waste – represents a defining moment.  

November 9th - 9am-12pm Commemoration of the Puente Hills Landfill closure 
 
Location: 7th Ave Trailhead, Corner of 7th Ave and E. Orange Grove Ave., Hacienda Heights, CA
 
Come out and commemorate the closure of the Puente Hills Landfill.
 
Hike leaving at 9am and tabling event about composting, vermiculture and the Sierra Club.
 
Hike with us on a loop above Hacienda Heights with great views of the San Gabriel Mountains and the closed landfill. This is a 4 mile, 1,000’ gain. Also learn about composting, organics and what happens to our trash. Hikers, meet 9 am at 7th Ave and E. Orange Grove Ave, Hacienda Heights. Bring water, a snack, and sturdy shoes. Rain within 48 hours cancels.
 
Tabling event 9am-12noon. 
We'll have speakers starting at 11am to discuss the impacts the landfill had on the community and how it helped preserve land locally. Want to learn how to set up your own worm bin? We'll have information on that as well!
 
Plan to stop by for the hike or just visit our table!
 
“The Puente Hills closure is happening as we reach a turning point in how we deal with solid waste in this country. We don’t need to make mountains of trash anymore,” Patricia Castellanos, director of Don’t Waste LA, emphasized. “We have the technology and ability to redesign our waste system into a recycling economy, move towards zero waste, and create jobs as we do so.” 
 
“I want to recognize the amazing work that has been carried out at Puente Hills for the past 80 years. They developed many of the practices that minimize the impact of landfills. Now it’s time to move towards a better system that maximizes recycling and diverts waste away from landfills altogether,” Los Angeles City Councilmember Joe Buscaino said. He sits on the Board of the Sanitation Districts of L.A. County, which run the Puente Hills Landfill. 
 
“In Los Angeles, we’re already recycling 70% of waste in single family residences, and now we’re putting in place policies to bring recycling at our businesses and apartment buildings to that level too,” Buscaino added. 
 
“This is an important milestone in leaving landfills behind. The Puente Hills landfill became one of the largest destinations for organic waste, reporting in 2011 that approximately 250,000 tons of food scraps and over 270,000 tons of separated yard trimmings were dumped there. The methane released to the atmosphere and the toxic water leached into groundwater and streams from organic waste will impact our environment for decades, even for the best-run landfill, " explained George Watland of the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter. "Its closure provides an opportunity for Los Angeles County and local cities to deploy new, cost-effective ways to keep organic material out of landfills."
 
“Today, we are celebrating a turning point in California’s trash management,” said Linda Escalante, policy advocate, with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Instead of building mountains of trash and creating local health problems, Los Angeles has adopted a zero waste policy to ensure places like Puente Hills never have to exist in the first place. We’re investing in the future of waste management, while also creating local jobs and spurring our regional economy. The closure of Puente Hills is good for our health, our economy and our pocketbooks.” 

2 comments

I agree that the closure is good for the local environment. However, this article says nothing about where the L.A. county trash will go now. My guess will be to other landfills, in, or around L.A. county. Thus affecting other environments. Is the closing of the Puente Hills landfill good if we just send our trash somewhere else?

The best solution for our waste issue is to eliminate our wasteful ways. The Angeles Chapter is working to promote better disposal of organic waste and to advocate for Zero Waste. Check out our efforts: http://angeles2.sierraclub.org/zero_waste_committee

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