Locals Life

One Man’s Trash… 

Written by: James

The City of Avalon is unique, to say the least, with a population of about 3,500. However, during the island’s peak season [Memorial Day through Labor Day] it explodes to as many as 10,000 visitors per day. The commercial community is made of “mom and pop” style shops, more modern beach front hotels, as well as a variety of restaurants to choose from whenever hunger strikes. Avalon is a destination that will leave a lasting impression for visitors and living in this beautiful little town is about as unique as it gets.

The island hosts over a million visitors each year that flock to the island during each season, so you cannot help but wonder what the City does with all of its waste. You would think a landfill would be inconvenient since Catalina is an island and there is only so much land to work with and develop; however, there is a landfill and it is located a little less than a mile away from the tourist area. The Pebbly Beach Landfill is located on a 7.7 acre plot with roughly 5.6 acres of landfill. Avalon Environmental Services [A.E.S.] is solely responsible for refuse pickup and solid waste processing for the City of Avalon. To further recycling efforts, a Material Recovery Facility [M.R.F.] was built to increase diversion from disposal in the landfill. The recovered materials are baled and barged back to the mainland to the appropriate recyclers then the remaining trash is compacted in a baler and placed in the landfill. Bale filling is like creating a landfill with “Lego Land” blocks. In order to make the landfill stable they are interlocked with each other. Green waste is recycled through a Windrow composting operation and has been in operation since 2002. It is unknown how “full” the landfill currently may be, but it sure is interesting to wonder what the City will have to do when that day comes.

The town primarily consists of shops, restaurants, and hotels that cater to tourists.  This makes it interesting for the people living here year-round. There is a Vons market where locals purchase food.  There are two hardware stores to purchase items for home-improvement. There is no Ikea, Target, or drive-thru food restaurants. Thankfully, we do have Amazon.com which is very convenient, but even Amazon cannot satisfy all needs.

So, what does an islander do if he or she needs a couch, for example? Recycle recycle recycle! Once you become a resident of the island you can join the Facebook group page where many locals buy, sell, and trade their goods. This is great because not only are you helping a neighbor but also you are saving money. Now of course you can buy a new couch if you want, but be prepared to pay a little extra for shipping and handling, or dealing with the Avalon freight service for deliveries from companies that do not ship to Avalon.

Living in this wonderful little town is an experience all on its own. Island life, in my opinion, is much more simplistic and with only so much to “do, ”it forces one to learn something about themselves they may not have known before. Living here for almost two years now I’ve learned I love spending my free time either staying in and writing, going out and getting active, or finding some raw materials [driftwood, pallets, or old furniture] and repurposing them for myself, friends or family. As the saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

A discarded window becomes wall art.

A wood pallet-turned-planter

A “new” cabinet made from discarded plywood pieces.

Avalon is beautiful and some may even argue it’s the most beautiful city in California which may or not may be true, but the saying around here goes, “You plan to visit for just a few days and end up staying here a lifetime.”