Conference Report - A Forum for The City of LA

In April of this year, Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti released the city’s first ever sustainability plan, known as “The pLAn,” which outlines several ambitious objectives for major areas of sustainability, including recycling and composting. Soon after its release, a few of the folks in our network started asking me about it. “Have you seen The pLAn? Is Global Green helping out with this?” After a couple of conversations with a few City officials from LA, I could respond with a resounding “Yes we are! But not alone.”

Front left - Susan Kinsella, Susan Collins, Ron Gonen, and Hays Witt

Front left - Susan Kinsella, Susan Collins, Ron Gonen, and Hays Witt

To help the folks who are tasked with implementing The pLAn, and in particular the parts pertaining to recycling and composting (my specialty), our first step was to bring together experts to discuss some of the top objectives outlined in the “Waste and Landfills” section of the document. Together with several other organizations, including LAANE, the LA Food Policy Council, and the LA Mayor’s Office, we turned the objectives from The pLAn into panel topics, and chose top experts in the field from across the state, and across the country, to share their perspectives on each of these areas.

The primary purpose of the forum was to share diverse knowledge, findings, experiences, and opinions so that the City officials could get a briefing on the state of thought on many of these topics, and then be able to follow up with these experts as they continue to implement The pLAn. We kept the attendance list short – we capped it at 50 – so that the conversation could get a little candid, and it definitely worked. Some difficult questions were brought up,  and some controversial topics debated (in a friendly fashion). Most of the experts we assembled had worked together before, and were familiar with each other. “It’s almost like a reunion,” said one attendee.

A few days after the event, I spoke at the California Resource Recycling Association conference. I met a few folks I know from the Bay Area world of recycling, and a few of them said, “Did you host a forum a few days ago?” When I said yes, they replied, “I heard it was really good! Everyone’s been talking about it!” Sounds like we are doing it right. Stay tuned for more updates on our work helping Los Angeles increase their sustainability, including their recycling and composting!

Here are a few examples of the feedback we got after the event:

"Thanks for a great forum yesterday.  It was actually quite enjoyable and instructive.
In fact, the room - as in the people invited - was perfect."
— Greg Good; Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti, City of Los Angeles

“Thanks a million for the great forum! It was such a good idea to do that for the City of LA.
You brought in a lot of very knowledgeable people.”
— Susan Collins, Container Recycling Institute

“Everyone seemed very engaged and I have been getting lots of follow-up emails about how to continue the conversation and policies that the City could pursue."
— Saira Gandhi; Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti, City of Los Angeles