Los Angeles County's expanding population will soon generate more trash than the county can handle, according to a grand jury report released Wednesday.
The report highlighted the need for waste- reduction and reuse programs that can convert trash into renewable energy or biofuels
"Until recently, the only place to put trash was in landfills," according to the report. "Today, however, waste and its by-products are being recycled into more useful products. Some waste materials can also be used as a fuel in power plants to create electricity or other forms of energy."
The county is in the midst of developing three demonstration trash- conversion facilities, although they are not expected to be operational until 2017. Two of them will be in Riverside County, and the third would be in Orange County.
But even with those plants online, their capacity will not be able to meet the county's demand, the report concluded.
"The projected population increase will surpass the county's ability to export enough solid waste to keep up with the amount of trash generated in the next 10 years," according to the report. "The projected export figure for 2018 is 48,000 tons per day, without any new facilities to supplement solid- waste reduction.
"The proposed three demonstration plants will have the combined capacity to process 450 to 900 tons a day. This is far short of keeping up with the burden of an expanding population," the report found.
The grand jury recommended that the county support organizations working toward a "zero-waste future" and work with other communities to develop demonstration trash-conversion facilities.
The county's Department of Public Works should also try to educate the public about the challenges of handling increasing amounts of trash, the grand jury recommended.