Invited Session: Waste Management Challenges

Learning from the Successes of a Municipal Materials Reuse Program (0.5 CEU)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017
14:45 – 15:15
Room 318

Moderator: Steven Menoff, Senior Vice President, Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc., Pennsylvania

L.A. SHARES is a public-private partnership engaged in an upstream solid waste diversion strategy that facilitates the transfer of reusable goods and materials from local businesses to city programs, schools and nonprofit organizations. Founded in 1991, under the auspices of the City of Los Angeles, this program has worked at the forefront of the Zero Waste movement, promoting reuse long before such practices gained traction in institutional settings. During the past 25 years, the program has undergone continual improvements, evolving from a warehouse-based operation that relied on fax broadcasting and a pickup truck into a web-based brokerage system that connects donors of reusable items to groups in need. To date, L.A. SHARES has facilitated the transfer of almost $200 million in reusable items from more than 1,000 local businesses to more than 4,000 recipient schools, nonprofits and city departments. On an annual basis, this translates into the solid waste diversion of more than 3.3 million reusable items, weighing more than one million pounds. Currently, the L.A. SHARES website is undergoing its most recent transformation, as students from Lehigh University optimize the platform for mobile and non-mobile device users. With this latest development, the program is poised for replication in other cities and countries.

By attending this presentation, participants will better be able to:

  • Examine how a municipal reuse program can address the escalating problem of overcrowded landfills, while simultaneously benefiting local community life and infrastructure
  • Discuss how a web-based platform can facilitate the transfer of reusable goods and materials from local businesses to schools, nonprofits and city government programs
  • Plan and develop a similar reuse program for implementation in their own communities


Lashan Branham, Chief Operating Officer, L.A. SHARES, California

La Shan Branham

Lashan Branham is a graduate of George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She joined the L.A. SHARES team in 2007 and manages the daily implementation and operations of this highly successful municipal materials reuse program and unique public-private partnership in solid waste diversion. Ms. Branham has played a major role in establishing L.A. SHARES’ online presence and has contributed to the program’s growth—expanding both the volume of donated goods and materials distributed for reuse and the number of returning corporate donors of these goods and materials. She is responsible for the smooth and seamless operation of L.A. SHARES’ electronic brokerage system (i.e., online product matches and lotteries), including the important “behind-the-scenes” tasks of developing relationships with local firms as product donors, community outreach, marketing, promotion and workflow coordination. She also coordinates special projects on behalf of L.A. SHARES with the City of Los Angeles, including the Bureau of Sanitation within the city’s Department of Public Works.