It's easy being green

Amber Willard

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.

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