The bad news; recycling used to make money, now it costs money, and many things no longer fit into the category of ‘recyclable.’ The good news; the end of RePlanet recycling centers has created an opportunity for two new CRV recycling centers in Culver City.
The meeting of Sustainability Subcommittee on Monday October 7, 2019 at the Mike Balkman Council Chambers at City Hall took on topics as large as the power grid, and as small as a trash can, with both information to be explored and satisfyingly tangible results.
The Sustainability Subcommittee, which consists of Vice Mayor Goran Eriksson, and Council member Daniel Lee assisted by Public Works Director Charles Herbertson is tasked with looking after long term sustainability issues for the city as well as day-to-day operations. Monday’s meeting had a short but important agenda.
First, a presentation by Ken Casey of Ameresco, a sustainable energy company, offered the city options on taking one part of the city – a section surrounding Vets Park and the Vets Memorial Building, including the Plunge – into a sustainable energy project that would prepare for a disaster (like an earthquake) and allow the city to take natural gas out of the equation for heating the pool. The subcommittee opted to send the item on to City Council.
A presentation by Rodney Loehr of Aquaviable, a company that sells water machines that pull moisture from the atmosphere to create distilled water, spoke about the technology as a way to reduce reliance on water from the state’s infrastructure. The possibility of having machines installed at the Senior Center or the Vets Memorial Building was brought up, and may come back to a future meeting.
Kim Braun, the Environmental Program s and Operations Manager gave a report on recycling, and how the changes in the international economy have had a direct and abysmal effect on the city’s recycling efforts. “When China closed it’s doors to recycling in 2017, we were selling our recycling for almost $90 a ton. We are now having to pay almost $90 a ton to just have someone take it, and much of this cannot currently be recycled at all.”
Only aluminum and mixed paper still hold any value, and plastics #3 through #7 are essentially trash.
With a new education campaign about to begin, giving Culver City residents explicit and specific information on “what can go in the blue bin, what can go in the green bin,” Braun showed new refrigerator magnets that will help as reminders, and also displayed a ‘ticketing’ system that will be in use with curbside can inspections.
The bankruptcy of RePlanet in early August, a private business that recycled cans and bottles for cash, was a catastrophe for the state of California. The silver lining is that it has left an opportunity for Culver City to open up a station in the same spot behind Ralphs at the Raintree Plaza on Overland Avenue, and another recycle station behind Pavilions at the Studio Village Center on Jefferson Boulevard.
Braun noted “I’d like to say we can have these up and running by November, but January is a realistic estimate.”
It was also noted that both Raintree and Beverlywood Condos are the last parts of Culver City to come into compliance with sanitation removal standards. Using a smaller trash can, and a truck that loads from the back rather than the side, were the two final components that made the narrower streets and alleyways of the respective condominium associations workable for the city’s services.