Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

"Green" Santa Monica Wastes Reusable Furniture, Sends it to the Dump

While city residents are asked to separate out the ends of cut vegetables for the alleged compost program, the city sticks an entire, usable sofa in the dump.

May 18, 2022 - The city of Santa Monica prides itself on being environmentally sustainable. In fact, an entire division of the city is devoted to sustainability, where the government website states, "For more than 25 years, our mission has been to use the power of community to enhance our resources, prevent harm to the natural environment and human health, and benefit the social and economic well-being of the community for the sake of current and future generations."

But when it comes to the disposal of bulky items, such as a sofa, the city acts with utter disregard for the environment or the economic well-being of the community. When you call the city for one of your three free pickups of bulky items, they will put it in the maw of their disposal truck and crush it, even if the item is only gently used and could have been gratefully received by a low-income family. The item is then taken to the dump, recyclable wood frame and all.

Rather than send your used furniture to the dump, research organizations that accept such items for resale or to match with needy families. While many organizations may not take large pieces of furniture, some will, and a few will even pick it up for free.

Admittedly, The Salvation Army, located on 11th street will accept large furniture donations but do not come to pick it up. The local Goodwill is not currently accepting large items.

But Habitat for Humanity will pick up furniture in Santa Monica for free so long as you haul it outside. (You also need to haul outside for the city to pick up). HFH asks for a $15 field donation, but paying this is not mandatory. Donated items are put on display at their re-store. Proceeds to building homes for low-income families.

Gee, that sounds like something Santa Monica could - and should - be doing themselves. Sustainable, sensitive to the environment in not wasting reusable items or contributing to the trash mass, and helpful to the poor.

But they don't.

Even profit-oriented Got Junk, who might charge as much as $200 to haul away your sofa, will find a charity to whom to donate a sofa if it is in good condition.

But not Santa Monica.

Convenience over sustainability.

Santa Monica's Interim Public Information Officer, Miriam Iglesias, says that the idea of donating used furniture has been considered by the city, but they feel unable to determined what is re-usable. "We would hate to donate items only to find there are “hidden” dangers within the furniture, things we cannot see," she wrote in an email. "We would need help with identifying articles that could be re-used." She claimed that most furntire is in "bad shape." But even if not, all such items are "taken to a landfill and disposed of."

While residents of the city are asked to separate out coffee grounds and the ends of cut vegetables for the alleged compost program, the city sticks an entire, usable sofa with clearly recyclable and/or compostable parts into the maw of the disposal truck and throws it in the dump.

One rule for you. Another rule for them.


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