Photos: LA’s ‘garbage land’

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For more than 50 years, the communities of Los Angeles County have sent their household and commercial refuse to the Puente Hills Landfill in Whittier, one of the largest public dumps in the country. But after decades of service, the dump is nearly full and will close for good on Halloween Day.

When Puente Hills closes, it will complicate where dozens of cities in L.A. County send their trash. Since most communities don’t want to see new dumps open near them, all of the trash now being trucked to Puente Hills will have to be transported to other landfills, thus increasing the cost of garbage disposal across L.A. County.

But not all of La Puente is shutting down when the landfill closes. The Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County will continue to process recyclable goods there at the  Materials Recovery Facility, a massive indoor center where recyclable goods that can be sold on the open market are recovered.

If you want to find our more about the Puente Hills Landfill, listen to the story here and check out the photos below.

Trucks delivering garbage to the top of the Puente Hills Landfill. Most of the activity at the dump is hidden from the neighborhoods and communities that surround it and the nearby 60 Freeway.
Once trash is dumped at the dump, it swiftly gets piled up and ground down before it’s buried in waste disposal “cells.”
Waste material getting dumped at the Puente Hills Materials Recovery Facility. This is where recyclable items are removed from the waste stream before the rest of the refuse is sent to the adjacent dump for burial.
Although much of the plant is automated, it’s people who stand next to conveyor belts full of passing garbage, looking for some of the best recyclable goods to salvage, from aluminum cans to high-quality plastics.
Waste material that can be reused is neatly collected in bales and stacked. It will be sold on the open market where it will be recycled and reused again to make new products and product packaging.