Apologies for Cross-Postings - Please share with interested
colleagues. FYI, Jaime Lozano works for the City of Los Angeles,
Citywide Solid Resources Recycling Division (see contact info
below). He is also President of the South Bay Business
the Los Angeles area, and a Boardmember of the CA Resource Management
). He was recently invited to speak in Sri Lanka about solid waste,
resource management, and zero waste in CA.
"Jaime Lozano" <Jalozano1@no.address>Jaime A. Lozano
Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2007 23:26:09 -0700
From: Weerasekera, Chamalie
Sent: Monday, September 17, 2007 1:49 AM
To: Jaime Lozano
Subject: ARTICLE IN THE SUNDAY OBSERVER
Give below is an article featureed in
the Sunday Observer -- re your interview
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Tel: (94) 11 249
Fax:(94) 11 244
the best solid waste management
by Shanika Sriyananda
Jaime A. Lozano
When you are pointing your finger at
somebody how many fingers are pointing back at you? Yes, it's a matter of
fact to think seriously. There are three fingers of your own hand waiting
impatiently to accuse you.
You may accuse the others, may be the
government, Ministry of Environment and Municipal Councils for not
sorting out your household trash properly. Did you ever think that three
other fingers are accusing you for not sorting out your own household
trash and separate the things that can be re-cycled.
This was the message given by Jaime A.
Lozano, Environmental Specialist, Bureau of Sanitation, California who
was in Sri Lanka to share the experiences in solid waste management
systems in California, USA with the Sri Lankan authorities.
"Everyone has to be part of the whole
solid waste management programs. Every one should ask the question from
him or herself, what did I do to re-cycle trash today", he said in
an exclusive interview with the 'Sunday Observer' recently.
The story of solid waste management in
California, which generates thousands and thousands of tonnes of waste,
did not turn to zero waste overnight. Strong commitment from the
political leadership to the villagers through systematic educational and
awareness programs implemented to give novel meaning to waste brought
good results today. Waste or trash is not waste to the residents of
California any more.
Decades-long struggle to give a value to
waste have now turned waste into profitable business ventures.
California, which generates thousands tonnes of household and business
waste daily, has been able to reduced waste by 25 per cent in 1995, then
by 50 per cent in 2000 and 60 percent now.
The local authorities have given targets and
if they fail they are liable to a fine of US$ 10,000 a day.
The Californians pay taxes for their
household waste. The small garbage bins are taxed less and saving waste
will save more money. Most of the materials in waste bins end up in
"In California we have been working with
waste management since the early 70s. Since then lots of people are
working on recycling and everybody was talking about recycling. Lots of
programs were evolved. But people started asking, if I keep collecting
and recycle waste no body wants to buy my products.
Then they found something qualitywise was
missing to some extent in the product. Then we created the market for
these products and went for market development programs. We started
realising that waste is becoming a commodity that something to be
sold", Lozano said.
According to Lozano, all these people should
be made to come to a common understanding that we live in a limited
planet and we do not get any more resources as they are limited.
Meanwhile, we have to manage the resources that we already have.
These resources are not in a store and cannot
multiply. Therefore, we have to manage what we have. For this we first
need to reduce and recycle. Before we reduce, we need to rethink, need to
redesign and we need to reevaluate how we have to do things.
We need to refuse and return material that
has been made to handle in the wrong way and which are not beneficial to
the planet. We all have to take initiatives to use the limited resources
on the earth for the use of the next generation.
It is important to think what we are going to
leave for them, he said.In California, waste ended up in landfills but
now the country has run out of land areas to continue dumping of waste.
It costs lots of money to take waste to landfills and land is very
These obstacles due to limited land
resources, the Californian authorities were compelled to re-define waste
. In the 1800 we had world's largest resources but after 1900 with
population boom it had reduced greatly. Today we have realised that our
resources are further shrinking and this is the phenomena around the
world. All the countries are suffering from limited resources.
"Then we started to use less energy to
save water in effective ways as consumers. In California we have also
realised that the resources are becoming more and more expensive.
Especially the landfills are more expensive as they have already been
filled with trash.
So we thought, why not find other ways to
deal the things that people call waste and lets make it a commodity?
asked Lozano who called it as a successful saga. Like taking stuff from a
magic box Lozano took out re-cycled products brought from California.
"This pen is made out of recycled
cardboard and plastic and wood in it recycled popsicle sticks. This is a
key tag made out of corn starch, a ruler made out of saw dust. This
pencil is made out of blue jeans (denim pants) and this is made using old
currency notes which are old and torn. This is just a few out of many
products in California," he said after exhibits his products.
According to Lozano it is not difficult to
find markets but just to create markets. For an example we have lots of
plastics and we found out those who are interested in plastics.
Then we find a company which is interested
in. Then find somebody to wash, check and given us the stock in the
quality which we need, he said adding that the state would help them to
have a private public partnership through the recycling market
We give them low interest loans to open up
their shops. Where do we get money to do that ? We get that by adding
small fees at the landfill. At the landfill every household has to pay.
What we do is we add small fee into that and that money goes directly to
the recycling market development zoneand they are available for low
interest loans?, he said.
Educating school children is the most
successful step, according to Lozano, that a country can adopt to reduce
waste and promote re-cycling.
"The most powerful group is the school
children and they will go any home and change the parents, educate the
parents and make a sustainable change. We started programs where the
teachers got involved. The children are given the training on re-cycling
from small days. They are given assignments to understand how does
landfill work. Ultimately they will influence their parents and also the
neighbours to change their environment", he pointed out.
Lozano said that Sri Lanka can get products
from India, China and the USA and it is vital to implement programs to
start businesses with trash. "You can consume them, collect them,
manage it in a way where you give value added with change them so make
them in another industry locally and make a new product, which
generatesself employment", he added.
According to Lozano, there are lots of
opportunities for education and lots of people are very interesting and
but Sri Lankans are not communicating with each other about the matter.
"Solid waste management in Sri Lanka has
a growth but I think that the educational experts and the government
should get together to implement a workable program on solid waste
management. There's lots of promise in Sri Lanka. If not, Sri Lanka is
going to face many problems in future", he warned.
Environmental Specialist II
Department of Public Works
Bureau of Sanitation
Citywide Solid Resources Recycling Div.
1149 South Broadway
10th Floor, Mail Stop 944
Los Angeles, CA 90015-2213
(213) 485-3873 Fax (213) 485-3671
Gary Liss & Associates