Los Angeles Almanac Logo
Home | All Almanac Topics | Environment & Animals

Solid Waste Disposal
Los Angeles County

Residential waste containers along a street in Los Angeles County. Photo by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works.

According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, in 2020, county residents and businesses disposed of a grand total 31.1 million tons of solid waste, averaging 99,832 tons per day. Approximately 65 percent of that, however, is reused, recycled or diverted from landfills. Only about 10.5 million tons of solid waste actually ended up in landfills or transformation facilities inside and outside the county. About 14 percent of Los Angeles County solid waste destined for landfills (about 4.5 million tons) went to landfills outside of the county. About 78 percent of solid waste sent to landfills outside the county ended up at the El Sobrante Landfill in Riverside County, the Frank R. Bowerman Sanitary and Olinda Alpha Sanitary Landfills in Orange County, and the Simi Valley Landfill in Ventura County. In addition, in 2020, Los Angeles County received 178,374 tons of solid waste from outside the county.
-- Source: L.A. County DPW Solid Waste Information Management System

Also see: Solid Waste Disposal by City and Community in Los Angeles County

Active Solid Waste Disposal Facilities
Landfills & Refuse Recovery
Los Angeles County, 2020

Landfill 2020 Disposal Quantity (Tons) Remaining Capacity (Tons)* Remaining Capacity (Years)* Location Operator
Antelope Valley Recycling & Disposal Facility 759,136 10,178,644 13 1200 W City Ranch Rd, Palmdale 93551 Privately Operated:
Waste Management Inc.
Azusa Land Reclamation 280,234 65,427,521 25 1211 W Gladstone St, Azusa 91702 Privately Operated:
Azusa Land Reclamation Inc.
Burbank Landfill #3 33,031 2,370,357 110 1600 Lockheed View Dr, Burbank 91504 City of Burbank
Calabasas Landfill 274,996 4,028,220 14 5300 Lost Hills Road, Agoura 91301 LA County Sanitation Districts
Chiquita Canyon Landfill 1,816,249 54,420,179 27 29201 Henry Mayo Dr, Castaic 91384 Privately Operated:
Waste Connections Inc.
Landfill 2020 Disposal Quantity (Tons) Remaining Capacity (Tons)* Remaining Capacity (Years)* Location Operator
Lancaster Landfill & Recycling Center 123,765 9,873,404 81 600 East Avenue F, Lancaster 93535 Privately Operated:
Waste Management Inc.
Pebbly Beach 3,599 32,092 6 1 Dump Rd, Avalon 90704 Privately Operated:
Seagull Sanitation Systems
San Clemente Landfill 373 19,469 20 San Clemente Island, 92674 U.S. Navy
Savage Canyon Landfill 87,308 4,261,790 35 13919 Penn St, Whittier, 90602 City of Whittier
Scholl Canyon Landfill 453,310 3,408,185 8 7721 N Figueroa St, Los Angeles 90041 LA County Sanitation Districts
Landfill 2020 Disposal Quantity (Tons) Remaining Capacity (Tons)* Remaining Capacity (Years)* Location Operator
Southeast Resource Recovery Facility (SERRF) 337,989 --- --- 120 Henry Ford Ave, Long Beach 90802 City of Long Beach
Sunshine Canyon Landfill 2,467,099 54,079,158 17 14747 San Fernando Rd, Sylmar 91344 Privately Operated:
Republic Services Inc.

* Based 2019 average daily disposal or maximum permitted capacity as of Dec. 31, 2019.
† The Azusa Land Reclamation facility is an inert waste facility. It is the only inert waste landfill in Los Angeles County with a full solid waste facility permit.
‡ The Commerce Refuse-to-Energy Facility produces power seven days a week, 24 hours per day. An average of 100 trucks per day deliver loads Monday through Friday during normal working hours. The Facility burns an average of 360 tons of trash per day and generates a net ten megawatts of electricity for sale to the Southern California Edison Company. This is enough electricity for 20,000 Southern California homes.

Source: County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works

The Commerce Refuse-to-Energy Facility, once located in the City of Commerce, was closed by the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts in 2018. The facility processed about 350 tons of waste per day, converting it into energy. The facility had faced opposition by local advocacy groups complaining of its environmental impact on the surrounding community. The facility was closed for being unable to generate sufficient revenue.

Sunshine Canyon Landfill takes in, by far, the most amount of waste of any of the landfills in Los Angeles County. In 2019, it took in 2.1 million tons of solid waster (6,919 tons per day) or 39 percent of all solid waste delivered to Los Angeles County landfills.

Closed Los Angeles County Landfills are Puente Hills, Mission Canyon, Palos Verdes and Spadra. Privately-owned Bradley West Landfill is also closed.

In 2013, Puente Hills Landfill, the largest landfill in the United States, closed to accepting any new waste. The landfill rose 500 feet high and covered 700 acres. In 2005, it accepted four million tons of waste.

The Commerce Refuse-to-Energy Facility and the Southeast Resource Recovery Facility (SERRF) in Long Beach are both owned by separate authorities and created by Joint Powers Agreements. Sanitation District No. 2 jointly oversees the Commerce facility with the City of Commerce and the SERRF with the City of Long Beach. The SERRF is operated by a private contractor.

The largest gas-to-energy facility is located at the now-closed Puente Hills Landfill. The facility produces more than 40 megawatts of power each day, which would meet the energy requirements of approximately 100,000 homes. Edison International buys most of the facility’s energy output.

By 1947, there were more than 300,000 backyard trash incinerators throughout Los Angeles County - the primary means of waste disposal for many homes. These had come to be seen, however, as significant contributors to the increasing serious problem of air pollution in the region. Efforts to ban backyard incinerators, however, were met with fierce opposition by homeowners. Incinerator owners believed that oil refineries were the true polluters and little had been done to curtail these. Cities nevertheless began establishing residential trash collection operations and, by 1958, backyard incinerators were completely banned.

In 1961, Sam Yorty ran for mayor of Los Angeles with the promise to end the inconvenience of separating refuse. After his election, a Los Angeles city ordinance was passed that eliminated the requirement to sort recyclables.

During the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, in just 22 days, event participants, including athletes, trainers, coaches and spectators, produced 6.5 million pounds of trash - more than six pounds per person per day.