WESTLAKE VILLAGE : City Halfway to Goal for Waste Reduction

In the first year of its curbside recycling program, Westlake Village is more than halfway to its goal of cutting waste by 25% by 1995, a city official said Wednesday.

Combined diversion of household and commercial wastes from landfills was about 15.6%, Planning Director Bob Theobald said.

The amount of waste from homes that went into landfills declined by 27% in the first quarter after the introduction of curbside recycling in February, Theobald said.

The decline in waste from businesses was smaller--about 7.6%--but is expected to pick up as the city expands its commercial recycling program, he said.

State law requires cities and counties to cut waste by 50% through recycling by the year 2000. Penalties of up to $10,000 per day may be imposed for noncompliance.

Westlake Village residents "seem to be embracing this enthusiastically," said Theobald, adding that about 52% of eligible households are participating in the program each week, lining the streets with blue recycling bins.

"I think we are doing very well. . . . I would think we are not going to have problem making 25% by 1995," Theobald said.

Theobald said Westlake Village's small population--about 7,500 residents--made implementing the recycling program comparatively simple. Los Angeles is still introducing curbside recycling to residents.

The city has contracted with several private firms to collect fees and pick up recyclable materials. Fees cover only a portion of the $70,000 yearly cost of running the recycling program, he said.

About 189.5 tons of paper, metal, glass and plastics were recycled from city residences in the first quarter, and about 77.5 tons of commercial waste were recycled.

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