BURBANK -- For its aggressive efforts to cut down on materials dumped
into landfills, Burbank's Race to Zero Waste program has received a state
award for excellence.
In April, city officials were notified that the League of California
Cities had selected Burbank's recycling program for a Helen Putnam Award.
"The award itself is for the entire integrated waste management
program," said Sylvia Glazer, street and sanitation manager for Burbank's
Public Works Department.
Parts of the program have been in place since 1982, while other
components have been added since a 1992 state mandate ordering cities to
cut their waste in half.
Through education to inform residents about the city's trash
separation in curbside containers, "we have been able to divert 62% of
solid waste from the landfill," Glazer said.
In response to the state mandate, Burbank built a materials recovery
facility, in which workers sort and process recyclable goods. The city
also started an automated refuse system, which allows one worker to
operate a truck with an arm that picks up curbside containers with green
waste such as grass trimmings, recyclables like plastic and
non-recyclable trash. Backyard composters are also available to residents
at no charge.
Before the separation program was introduced, 20% of waste going to
the city's landfill was green waste, city officials said. Almost no green
waste makes it to the dump now.
The city, one of hundreds of nominees for the award, will be honored
at the League's annual conference in September. Burbank's recycling
program will also be featured in an upcoming issue of Western City
magazine, published by the League.