Santa Clarita to start innovative curbside diaper recycling program in spring 2002

The Associated Press`
Monday December 17, 2001

Advocates say program will reduce landfills 


SANTA CLARITA – It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. That’s what Santa Clarita plans with a pilot diaper recycling program. 

The 6-to 12-month project will involve 750 families in spring 2002. If successful, curbside diaper recycling will be made available to every home. 

Santa Clarita would be the first city nationwide to have such a program. The method already has been adopted in Ontario and the Netherlands. 

Proponents say it would help Santa Clarita avoid steep fines by meeting the state mandate to reduce its load of landfill trash by 50 percent. 

Advocates also say the commuter city 20 miles northwest of Los Angeles, with an average age of 34, is the ideal place to test a new technology that separates a diaper’s stinky deposits from reusable plastics and wood pulp. 

“This place is a baby factory, man,” said Councilman Cameron Smyth. 

The plan will be subsidized by Canadian firm Knowaste, which developed the technology, $250,000 from city taxes and a matching state grant. 

Opponents say the program could prove too costly to be feasible. U.S. experts estimate it costs an average $32 per ton to dump trash in landfills. The daiper recycling facility would probably have to charge more. 

Councilman Bob Kellar, the only one in the five-member council to oppose the idea, noted three Canadian cities abandoned similar trials during the 1990s after costs skyrocketed, with dumping fees reaching $150 a ton.