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CANOGA PARK : Salvation Army Kicks Off New Recycling Plan

Used clothes, toys and furniture won’t be the only things that are recycled when a new curbside recycling program gets under way in the west San Fernando Valley next week. Organizers say the project will also help some people get a new lease on life.

On Monday, the Salvation Army will begin a pilot program in which it will provide curbside pickup of donated items in selected neighborhoods in Northridge, Chatsworth, Granada Hills, Tarzana, Encino, Woodland Hills and West Hills. Money that is raised from sale of the donated goods will support the charity’s drug and alcohol rehabilitation center.

“It’s a wonderfully creative partnership between one of our most venerable nonprofits and the city of Los Angeles,” City Councilwoman Laura Chick said at a kick-off ceremony at the Salvation Army’s rehabilitation center in Canoga Park on Thursday. “It’s yet another way we are finding in Los Angeles to divert materials from going into our landfills.”

The city’s public works department has spent $16,500 to provide the program with plastic collection bags and print informational flyers, which will be delivered next week to residents in the targeted areas. Beginning Sept. 6, the Salvation Army will begin picking up the bagged items, which people should set alongside their yellow recycling bins on their regular trash collection day.

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“We have great people in the community who want to help people and help the environment,” said Nat Isaac, a city sanitation engineer who helped coordinate the program. Isaac said it took 18 months to iron out the legalities of the arrangement.

Isaac predicted that the city will actually save money because, thanks to the reduced waste stream, Los Angeles will pay less in landfill user fees--known as tip fees--and will not have to build another landfill as soon.

Nearly 12,000 homes will have the service available for one year before it is evaluated for renewal or expansion. The city estimates that the program will keep 46 tons of reusable goods out of landfills per month.

That means 46 tons of goods will go instead to the Salvation Army’s thrift shops for resale. That’s good news for people like Larry Visakowitz.

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Five weeks ago, the temporarily homeless Visakowitz spent most of his days intoxicated on the streets of North Hollywood. The center has allowed him to begin pulling mind and body together, Visakowitz said. Many of the center’s clients help repair or sort donated items, a form of therapy that helps keep them occupied and teaches them new skills.

Visakowitz said he is in favor of any effort to expand the program.

“The program gives us a lift up in terms of getting you back on your feet,” he said.


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