Homeowners to Recycle Trash for Pierce College's Benefit

Times Staff Writer

Homeowners in Woodland Hills have launched the San Fernando Valley's first independent curbside trash-recycling program in hopes of raising thousands of dollars for Pierce College, community leaders said Friday.

The Woodland Hills Homeowners Organization will start the pickups next month on streets in three neighborhoods. After that, they hope to expand the monthly collection service throughout the community, said leaders of the association.

Profits estimated at $45 per ton for scrap paper, plastic, aluminum and glass will be turned over to the Foundation for Pierce College, a 20-year-old group that raises money for scholarships and classroom equipment.

The first streets for the pilot program will be selected in several days, said Robert Gross, an association vice president.

"It's a marvelous opportunity for us to do something so we're not viewed as an organization that says negative things," Gross said. The 500-household association has been known for its stance against overdevelopment in the West Valley.

Residents participating in the project will be asked to separate recyclable items in bags or boxes on designated Saturday pickup days. A Sylmar-based recycling firm, the Community Recycling Center, will handle pickups.

First of Its Kind

Danny Peterson, general manager of the company, said the venture will be the first privately operated recycling effort of its kind in the Valley. Many fixed-location recycling centers are in operation, and Los Angeles city sanitation officials are experimenting with curbside recycling, although the municipal project does not involve separated trash.

Peterson predicted that the Woodland Hills effort will be successful because residents there are "charity-oriented and supportive of recycling." The homeowner association project was proposed by Alex Andres, a Woodland Hills retiree who has operated a City of Hope newspaper-collection bin near his home for about 10 years.

"If this catches on in Woodland Hills, you'll see other homeowner groups doing it, too," Andres said Friday.

Leaders of the college's nonprofit foundation said they were surprised and pleased by the homeowners' plans. About $100,000 a year is raised through such things as solicitations, a yearly fund-raising dinner and an annual fall jazz concert, said Paul Ratzi, a Teledyne Systems executive who is the foundation's president.

Don Love, dean of development at Pierce College, said the foundation's 1988 fund-raising goal had been $150,000. He said more money is "absolutely needed" for a variety of educational and capital projects, however.

The Woodland Hills project also was welcomed by Los Angeles City sanitation officials. They said Friday that it will not be in conflict with their 6-month-old recycling experiment at 1,500 homes at five Valley locations.

"We encourage people to recycle whether we're involved or not," said William F. Knapp, manager of the city's refuse and collection division. "It saves resources and valuable landfill space."

City Project Evaluated

Knapp said city officials are evaluating their own Valley trash-recycling project, which includes 300 homes in Woodland Hills, to determine whether the one-container concept should be used elsewhere in Los Angeles.

"So far, the principle physically works and the material does have some market," Knapp said of the mixed loads of aluminum, paper and glass.

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