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Knabe Makes Pitch To Ease Burden of Trash on Los Angeles County Landfills

The supervisor would like state and federal laws updated to allow for the use of conversion technologies to turn trash into renewable energy.

Supervisor Don Knabe wants Los Angeles County to do a better job of dealing with its trash.

The supervisor Tuesday called on federal and state legislators to change decades-old laws to encourage the development of conversion technologies that would act as an alternative to landfills, according to a news release.

“Conversion technologies are critical to ensuring the County’s ability to manage its waste in the future, thereby protecting public health and safety, and the environment,” Supervisor Knabe said in the news release. “Yet many companies have decided not to pursue projects here due to uncertainty created by California’s outdated regulations.”

Conversion technologies would allow trash that normally is dumped into a landfill to be converted into fuels and alternative energy sources. According to the supervisor’s office, the 8 million tons of waste sent to landfills in Los Angeles County could produce more than a half a billion gallons of biofuels.

The county’s award-winning recycling program already boasts one of the highest recycling rates in the nation, according to the release. But there is room for improvement, Knabe believes.

Conversion technology facilities already operate in 28 counties worldwide, according to the release. But California laws, written more than 20 years ago, only envisioned trash being burned or buried.

“They did not account for these sophisticated technologies being able to recover products and fuels from trash and erroneously consider them equivalent to landfills and incinerators, thus creating barriers to their development,” Supervisor Knabe said in the release.

Supervisor Knabe hopes that state and federal legislators will take a forward look at using new technologies to ease the burden on county landfills.

“We must seize the opportunity and continue to lead in this effort, working diligently with State officials and legislators, other municipalities, scientists, industry representatives, and other key stakeholders to modernize State and Federal law and regulation to support, rather than discourage, these promising technologies,” he said.

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