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Burbank School’s Share Table Program Is Here!

Anyone who has ever been a child realizes that kids are prone to waste food. Schools know a thing or two about kids’ discriminating palettes and when federal guidelines emphasized healthier school meals, kids cast their votes. The results? The amount of food wasted in schools, much of it untouched, increased significantly.

Food share table pic

 Recent California legislation (AB 1826) calls on institutions and businesses to reduce food waste with good reason. Food comprises roughly 20% of the material going into the State’s landfills. When one in six people in Los Angeles County is hungry (many of them children), the first responsible steps are raising awareness and preventing edible food from becoming waste.

Burbank Recycle Center staff have partnered with Burbank Unified School District (BUSD) to reduce food waste in elementary schools. BUSD is adopting the Los Angeles Unified School District’s new campaign “Choose What You Eat, Eat What You Choose.” This campaign reminds students about their role in food waste prevention. This lesson leads to healthy, lifelong, low-waste habits. And while exchanging food between students is discouraged, all elementary schools have committed to starting a supervised Share Table. Share Tables allow students to donate unopened packaged foods or drinks along with unpeeled fruits so other students can eat them.

Burbank Recycle Center engaged high-energy assemblies with Mr. EcoHero to launch the school programs. Mr. EcoHero performs a rap song about why it’s important not to waste food and also tied it into wasting water and other resources. This energetic musical program made it fun — and memorable — for the students. Over the next few years, the partnership hopes to expand waste reduction programs at middle and high schools. As elementary students graduate they can build on their food sharing experience and their positive waste reduction habits.


Wanted: Zero Waste Heroes

 Zero Waste is a growing movement where all discarded materials are seen and managed as a resource. The Master Recycler Program is a volunteer training for people who want to learn more about Zero Waste, engage with our community, and shape ideas to make a difference. The program includes seven classes (January through early April) highlighting the 6 Rs of waste reduction:

      •   Rethink by redesigning systems, habits, and mindsetsSuperman Shutterstock



      •   Refuse by saying “no” to unnecessary waste

      •   Reduce by sharing, renting, and borrowing

      •   Reuse by repairing and repurposing

      •   Recycle by sorting and sending it on

      •   Return by giving nutrients back to nature

The Master Recycler program is free. Classes include lively discussions, hands-on learning, tours, guest speakers, and instruction from the professionals at the Burbank Recycle Center. Master Recyclers who complete all seven classes and 30 hours of community projects and volunteering will receive a graduation certificate and recognition.

Classes are limited in size and begin Saturday, January 13. Visit The Master Recycler Program tab on the Burbank Recycle Center homepage to learn more or contact Amy Hammes, Recycling Specialist at 818-238- 3900 or


Monday–Friday Drop Zone Debut

You may have noticed a new look at our facility with the launch of the “Monday–Friday Drop Zone,” our weekday universal waste landing site. We created a bright and inviting place to safely and conveniently collect problematic items like electronic waste, batteries, fluorescent bulbs, and used motor oil for residents and businesses (quantity limits apply).


These items are called “universal” waste because they are common but toxic and cannot be put in the recycling or trash bin. Yet, providing this City service is expensive, so it is closed on Saturday. However, many Burbank residents get confused because the rest of the facility is open for regular recycling and bottle and can redemption. So, it was time to rebrand.

This area now stands out making it clear when the Drop Zone is closed on Saturdays. We’ve also added an “Information Station” wall with flyers on recycling and reuse options, workshops, events, as well as universal waste weekend drop off options.

If you do come on Saturday when the Drop Zone is closed, do NOT leave items behind. Universal waste requires special handling, so dropping off when we are closed is illegal dumping! But the good news is the Los Angeles S.A.F.E. Centers, are open on Saturdays and Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Between the Monday–Friday Drop Zone and the Saturday and Sunday S.A.F.E. Centers, residents have free drop-off options seven days a week!


3 Ways to Recycle Your Tree


1.   At the Curb/Alley: From January 1 through January 19, the City of Burbank will collect holiday trees placed in the alley and at the curb.

2.   In the Green Waste Container: Cut trees into pieces to fit into your green cart with your other yard trimmings.

3.   In Three Parks: From December 26 through January 19, drop off trees in:

      •     Verdugo Park at California Street and Verdugo Avenue

      •     Ralph Foy Park in the parking lot on Victory Boulevard

      •     McCambridge Park in the parking lot on Andover Drive 

Because trees are mulched or composted, please remove all tinsel, ornaments, lights, and stands. NO stands will be accepted! Flocked trees cannot be recycled. If you have questions, call the City at 818-238-3800.


Shining a Light on Tree Lights


Please don’t put Christmas lights in the trash or recycling bins! Light strings are electronic waste, so please bring them to the Drop Zone at the Burbank Recycle Center, which is open Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Better yet, try and find a way to get them working again for next year.



’Tis the Season to Reduce


Your holiday season should be merry and bright, not stressful and wasteful. Keep the environment in mind by trying some of these gift-giving alternatives this year.

Make a List (and Check It Twice!): And stick to your budget to avoid over spending.

Give the Gift of You: Is there someone on the list that you’d like to see more often? Instead of giving a gift, make arrangements to get together or promise a monthly visit.

Made by You: Put your skills to work and make homemade gifts, such as scarves, ornaments, and baked goods. Decorate an old picture frame and add a photo. Or if you are handy, fix a broken item for your loved one.

Give an Experience: Do you have friends or relatives who are sports fans but don’t go to games very often? Give them tickets! Not a sports fan? Give tickets to a concert or play, a museum membership, or park passes.

Remember to Reuse: Reusable shopping bags aren’t just for groceries! Wherever you are shopping for holiday gifts, carry your own reusable bags with you to the store.

Avoid a Bad Wrap: Reuse last year’s paper, bags, and bows (and save this year’s for next year). Choose reusable gift bags if you need to buy something new. Use fabric scraps, old pillow cases, or maps to create unique wrapping “paper.” Or just use a different box to keep them guessing!

Don’t Buy Plastic Gift Cards: They are not recyclable. Plus cash fits everyone and is reusable!

Don’t Forget to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle: Provide bins during holiday parties. Recycle non-metallic wrapping paper and holiday cards, too. Aim to reduce waste before creating it.


Thanks, But No TanksBalloon tank

Balloons can make a party festive, but discarded helium balloon tanks are nothing to celebrate. They contain helium, a non-renewable resource that needs to be preserved, not wasted. Helium is very important for making rocket fuel, semi-conductors for electronics, and medical MRIs. Plus, helium tanks are extremely difficult to properly dispose and cannot be put in your recycling bin. The Burbank Recycle Center does not accept them for drop off either.

With this in mind, think twice before purchasing a helium tank for your next party. Instead, blow up latex balloons with your own breath or rent a tank from a specialty store. Just remember, balloons and strings can be dangerous to animals and create street litter when released or improperly disposed.

You can take empty helium tanks to the Los Angeles S.A.F.E. Centers, but there are several steps to prepare the tank before dropping it off to ensure worker safety. Most manufacturers have recycling preparation instructions on their website.


Rescue Reduce Rehome

Adopt Don't Shop!


Reduce the pet overpopulation by rescuing from the Burbank Animal Shelter.  It's also one of the best way to practice reuse. 



Composting: The Homegrown Solution

Composting Banner

Our composting workshops are held on the LAST Wednesday of the month. The 2018 season begins March 28th and go through November.

Backyard composting reduces this waste and turns it back into valuable soil nutrients to produce healthier plants and improved water retention in your own gardens. We’ll show you how easy it is to keep your green waste at home working for you.


Baby, It’s Cold Outside

As the temperature begins to drop, you may think about switching to a “smart” thermostat. These thermostats can help save energy, money, and time. They are also more accurate than mercury-based thermostats, keeping your home at the right temperature with fewer adjustments.

If you decide to make the change, be sure your old mercury thermostat is carefully recycled. You’ll be happy to know that older mercury thermostats can be recycled on weekdays at participating heating and cooling suppliers in Burbank. To find a location, go to the Thermostat Recycling Corporation’s website at Mercury thermostats can also be carefully handed to staff at the Los Angeles S.A.F.E Centers, which are open on Saturdays and Sundays.

Just a reminder — mercury thermostats are not accepted at the Burbank Recycle Center Drop Zone. However, digital thermostats can be recycled there, as well as at S.A.F.E. Centers or at special collection events.


Reduce Your Use: ReThink Plastic StrawsPaper-straws_preview

Americans use about 500 million plastic straws a day and they aren’t recyclable. Many become litter and are carried down storm drains and into waterways. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that plastic straws are one of the top five most common items found during International Coastal Cleanups. This is a problem that really sucks up a lot of resources. Yet there are alternatives like reusable straws made from metal, glass, or bamboo. Reusable versions are great holiday gifts for the environmentally responsible folks on your shopping list. Make a statement without making waste.

Here are ways to reduce:

Step 1: Make a personal commitment to say “no” to plastic straws. Whenever ordering a drink, politely request in advance “no straw, please.”

Step 2: Reach out to your favorite local eateries and ask them to change their protocol to provide straws only upon request.

Step 3: Encourage restaurants to switch to non-plastic straw options, like old-fashioned paper.


A Pointed Conversation

Californians generate some 389 million sharps each year and illegally dumped needles have reached epidemic proportions at the Burbank Recycle Center.

In 2016 over 3,000 pSharps hazardounds of illegal needles were pulled from Burbank’s sorting line. Workers who sort materials by hand are always on watch and if stuck, are subject to a minimum of six months of blood tests for Hepatitis, AIDS, and other diseases.

Never place needles in trash or recycling containers! Assume everything you throw away will be handled by your family, kids, or parents.

For responsible disposal, place all sharps in an approved red container and bring your full container to one of the S.A.F.E. Collection Centers. The Centers are open Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The two centers nearest Burbank are located at 4600 Colorado Boulevard near Atwater or 11025 Randall Street near Sun Valley.


A Stickler for Needle Product StewardshipKreigh award

A big CONGRATS to our own Kreigh Hampel, Recycling Coordinator for the City of Burbank, who was recently recognized as the California Product Stewardship Council’s “Associate of the Year.”

The California Product Stewardship Council (CPSC) advocates for policies that require manufacturers, retailers, and packaging producers to minimize their environmental impact and create “take-back” programs for their end-of-life products.

A CPSC Board Member since 2011, Kreigh has been instrumental in advancing producer responsibility in California, notably his recent work on safe needle disposal. Kreigh’s compelling testimony in Sacramento brought to light the huge problem of medical needles, or “sharps,” that are entering the waste and recycling streams due to lack of safe disposal options, as well as the costs local governments bear in dealing with this medical waste.

For more information on CPSC and product stewardship, visit


Ask Your Retailer to Pick up Your Mattress

Together, we are recycling almost 4,000 mattresses per year, saving space over a half mile high in the Burbank landfill. If you are a Burbank resident with an old mattress and box springs, here are your options:

1.         Ask your retailer to take back the old mattress when a new mattress is delivered.

2.         Bring the old mattress and box springs to the Burbank Recycle  Center during regular drop-off hours.

3.         Schedule a curbside pickup by calling Burbank’s Bulk Item Pickup at 818-238-3805.

4.         Take the mattress directly to a mattress recycling facility in Los Angeles and get $3 for each mattress. For locations and payment details, visit


Don’t Let Your Sewer Take “Root”

According to Burbank Municipal Code (BMC) 8-1-107, the property owner must clean, maintain, and repair their sewer lateral from the house connection to the City sewer main. As a result of the past several years of drought, roots have been migrating further into private sewer laterals. The lack of regular maintenance can result in costly repairs.

The City’s Sewer Lateral User Rebate Program (SLURP) is designed to assist single-family and duplex properties with maintaining and repairing their private sewer laterals. To learn more about the SLURP program, visit or contact the Public Works’ Wastewater Division at 818-238-3915.


Drains Are for Rains

Remember that there is no such place as “away” — storm drain debris and chemical runoff head straight to the ocean. Protect our waterways by picking up litter and avoiding the use of problematic chemicals whenever possible.


Waste Reduction Ends on a High Note

The Starlight Bowl’s Zero Waste efforts climbed to new levels this year! Not only did the staff continue the innovative on-site composting and recycling programs, but they focused on recovering unusual wastes whenever possible. Staff worked closely and quickly with sponsors to make sure that their surprise giveaways avoided the trash bin. On July 4th for examStarlight Megabin stationsple, any unwanted blinking foam light sticks were collected as the crowd exited. The lights were later donated to the teacher supply non-profit, “Trash 4 Teaching” where the they found a second chance to shine in classroom art projects. Concessionaire Canyon Grille joined in the Zero Waste festivities by implementing their own waste reduction efforts (see box). Finally, Recycled Movie, a company dedicated to material recovery, was hired to oversee the working details of the Bowl’s Zero Waste program. The crew coordinated vendors, managed collection stations, and ensured that materials were prepped for recycling after the event.

The Zero Waste program created 16 employment opportunities for green-minded people.

Thesechanges made a difference in moving Starlight Bowl closer to Zero Waste! 77% of discards were diverted from the landfill, up from last year’s 70%.

Canyon Grille Partners for Zero Waste

Canyon Grille, the restaurant at the nearby DeBell Golf Course, served as the concessionaire at the Starlight Bowl this year. After learning about the existing recycling and composting programs, Canyon Grille Executive Chef Mauro Payan decided to embrace waste reduction, too. They:

•     Eliminated the use of polystyrene foam, which becomes trash, and instead used uncoated paper products that were compostable.

•     Set up stations for pump bottles and utensils instead of automatically handing out packaged cutlery and condiment packets.

•     Served beverages in recyclable, clear #1 PET plastic cups.

These actions drastically reduced the volume of material going into the trash and diverted more materials into the compost bins. Best of all, there were very few plastic condiment packets contaminating the compostable food and soiled paper! A big thank you to the staff at Canyon Grille!


Marnell Gibson: Burbank’s New Public Works Director

After an extensive search and agency analysis, the City of Burbank welcomed Marnell Gibson as Public Works Director in July. With over 28 years of civil engineering experience in the planning, design, and construction of public infrastructure, Gibson will oversee the Public Works Department’s six divisions which include City streets, sidewalks, and buildings; sewer and water reclamation; traffic control; and refuse collection and recycling. In the past few months, Gibson has been impressed with the amazing customer service the City provides, as well as the endless opportunities offered to residents and visitors.

She previously worked as the City Engineer and Assistant Director of Public Works for the City of San Diego. Her time in public works has focused on community engagement, fiduciary responsibility, and capital improvement.

Gibson’s management philosophy is built on establishing trust with her team to empower them to do their jobs because “they are the subject matter experts.”

She has been quickly acclimating to her new position in Burbank and the Recycle Center staff have been communicating their “subject matter expertise” about the environmental goals of Zero Waste.

“Recycling Coordinator Kreigh Hampel has me seriously moving away from the use of straws!” she said. (Or, as he prefers to call them, evil-unnecessary-disposable-plastic-liquid-delivery-devices.)

When not cheering on her daughters during their beach volleyball games, Gibson, like any typical SoCal resident, can be found outdoors pursuing a variety of sports and activities.


Meet Marnell

PW Director Marnel

•     Favorite quote: “Do what you love and love what you do.”

•     First job: Janitorial services at my dad’s office. He also reaped the benefit that I would do filing.

•     First job in public works: I was a summer intern for the City of Coronado while going to college.

•     Interesting ways you reduce, reuse, and recycle: One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. I try to “share” my trash whenever I can.

“I’ve committed my career to serving people and the greater good. I’m looking forward to doing the same in such a cutting edge city as Burbank.” ~ Marnell Gibson, City of Burbank Public Works Director


“Eco-Lodeon” Moves into Nickelodeon’s New Burbank CampusEcolodeon

While many businesses struggle with the new California recycling mandates, Nickelodeon West Coast has been entertaining the idea of zero waste. Nickelodeon’s new campus expansion includes 700 employees, a second building, five floors, and also some impressive “Eco-Lodeon” innovations. For starters, the building is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certified, which ensures high energy efficiency and environmentally responsible building materials.

Inspired by this new environment, Administrative Production Coordinator Kate Remsen thought there was more that could be done, especially in shrinking their waste footprint. She had already been instrumental in removing disposable drinkware from staff kitchens and supplying each employee with a reusable mug. The reusables saved money on purchasing and disposing of single-use products. With the support of the network’s senior management, Remsen worked with Facilities leaders to develop her Eco-Lodeon program and implement additional Zero Waste practices in the new building. We asked Remsen about the Eco-Lodeon program:

What waste reduction initiatives has your company implemented? We donate electronics, furniture, and extra supplies to Habitat for Humanity and to arts education programs in Burbank and around the Los Angeles basin. All unserved food from our Nick Café, events, and various other sources are recovered. We reduce our food waste and provide food to help LA Midnight Mission. In addition to the move away from disposable drinkware, our newest initiative is reducing our waste by composting food scraps.

Describe your organics recycling program. We teamed up with our hauler to determine the best way to recycle, compost, and reduce our overall waste. Our composting program was implemented in June 2017 and the employees and janitorial staff are working hard to separate their discards into the three-bin system: food and soiled paper, recycling, and waste. Organics are turned into compost. Recycling and waste are taken for additional separation off site.

How did you introduce this to the employees? We started with email announcements and posters introducing the Eco-Lodeon program. We used images instead of words to help children, as well as foreign employees. Posters were placed around the building and signs went up by the bins to let employees know what goes where.

How have employees responded? As with all changes, it was a hard adjustment and we are still getting used to the new system. However, the feedback we have received is positive, with most employees exclaiming, “Finally! I’m so glad we are doing this!” Since Nickelodeon is always kids first, we are making a difference for the next generation and ensuring a future home for them and us!

What is the most surprising thing that you have discovered along this waste reduction journey? The type of things that can be recycled is super strict, especially on contaminated materials. By separating food from recyclables, we not only repurpose leftover food and soiled paper by composting, but we also ensure that our office paper and plastic are cleaner for recycling.

How important has it been to have support from upper management and parent company, Viacom? It’s extremely important! It shows employees that management believes in the Eco-Lodeon project and is committed to a better future for ourselves and our kids. Plus, having management give the OK on the green initiatives allows us to move forward toward bigger and better changes.

Any advice for a business trying to create waste reduction programs?

•           Get the employees involved and excited. We rolled out this program with a massive Earth Day fair. Employees learned what they can do in their own homes to reduce waste and save money while they enjoyed beneficial giveaways like succulents.

•           Implement the program without hesitation. People will adapt to changes more quickly if you simply say, “This is happening.”

•           Provide opportunities for employees to understand the impact of their actions. Why are we composting? What is the compost used for? How much are we reducing our footprint and how am I a part of the change? By providing education, we can all see our direct impact, which increases morale and excites everyone!



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