Los Angeles establishes goal to become the nation's first zero-waste city

In a major step for environmentalists and sustainability advocates everywhere, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has announced a large-scale expansion of the city's recycling program to include food and beverage cartons. According to Eagle Rock Patch, the mayor made the announcement in front of one of the city's garbage trucks and a selection of carton-packaging waste to show how easy it can be to create a greener community.

The city's recycling plan, dubbed "On the Road to Zero Waste," has set a lofty goal of moving 70 percent of Los Angeles' waste to recycling centers rather than being dumped in landfills by 2013. This ambitious plan will not change the single-stream recycling program that's currently in place, and consumers will not see an increase in their taxes. The initiative is aimed to make recycling as easy as possible and will serve 750,000 single-family households and 430,000 multi-family units.

"So if your apartment has yet to sign up, it's as easy as dialing 3-1-1," Villaraigosa told the news source. "3-1-1 will connect you with citywide recycling to deliver bins for free and pick up [trash] on a regular schedule. It's really that easy."

The campaign will help to remove 10.1 million tons of unnecessary waste out of landfills and into recycling centers where they belong. While the public will need to be educated about the new program, by consolidating the waste into one receptacle consumers can ensure that their waste goes to the proper place.

Cities like Los Angeles are just one of the many communities that have embraced single-stream recycling. By placing everything into one bin, cities can streamline the process and encourage citizens to do their part for the environment.