Santa Clarita Calls for Law to Reduce Torrents of Trash

Times Staff Writer

The Santa Clarita City Council, noting that two landfills are proposed near the city, has decided to attack the mounting garbage problem in Los Angeles County at its source.

The council is looking for a legislator to sponsor a bill to require industry to use more biodegradable packaging and to cut down on the amount of plastic, paper and cardboard used in packaging.

State Sen. Ed Davis (R-Valencia) has not agreed to sponsor the bill, but an aide to the senator said Monday that Davis will submit the city’s proposal to the Legislature’s legal staff before Friday.

The Legislative Counsel, which reviews potential legislation and helps draft bills in legal language, must receive all bills and proposed bills by Friday, said Hunt Braly, a Davis aide. The deadline to introduce formal bills is early March, giving Santa Clarita about a month to research the issue and find a sponsor, Braly said.


Research Issue

Details of the Santa Clarita proposal have not been worked out, but the city is prepared to help research the issue, said Asst. City Manager Ken Pulskamp.

The aim of such legislation, Pulskamp said, is to reduce the amount of waste pouring into garbage dumps by cutting down on obviously decorative and unnecessarily large packaging. Pulskamp said many items are packaged in multiple layers of material.

From Santa Clarita’s standpoint, the proposal has symbolic value as well. Council members, who voted to seek Davis’ help last week, said they want to show that the city is willing to combat the garbage problem and not merely oppose plans to put dumps in the Santa Clarita Valley.

“The council is trying to take a pro-active approach,” Pulskamp said.

Councilman Howard P. (Buck) McKeon said Monday that industry would undoubtedly oppose the Santa Clarita proposal. But McKeon, who credited Mayor Jan Heidt with the plan, said the effort is worth pursuing.

“I think we have to take a first step,” McKeon said.

The council, which voted to enlist Davis’ help Jan. 24, did not discuss passing municipal ordinances to control packaging. “I just don’t think it’s practical on the local level,” Pulskamp said. “It makes more sense if you can tackle the problem on a large scale.”


Planners with the Los Angeles County Bureau of Sanitation say the county’s landfills are rapidly nearing capacity. These planners are eyeing Towsley Canyon and Elsmere Canyon--both near Santa Clarita--as possible dump sites.

The president of BKK, a private landfill company from West Covina, said last month that the company hopes to begin work on a landfill in Elsmere in three years.

The City Council has not formally opposed the Elsmere plan, but some council members have said they fear a dump there would contaminate Santa Clarita’s ground water. The City Council is tentatively scheduled to tour Elsmere Canyon on Thursday.