A Fresh Approach to a Stinky Problem


Have you ever been walking your dog and suddenly realized that you’d forgotten to bring a bag to pick up after your four-legged friend? Well, if you are going to be in any of a number of parks this spring, you may be in luck!

The City of Los Angeles Stormwater Program will be installing dispensers that hold plastic bags in local parks that patrons can use to pick up after their pets before tossing the bag in the trash. The Take a Bag, Leave a Bag pilot program, which may be expanded, will allow residents to leave plastic bags in the dispenser for others to use. It will be a fantastic way to reuse any extra plastic bags you have lying around your home.

By having residents contribute plastic bags to the dispensers, the community is becoming directly involved, helping to reduce the cost of bags and labor for the program, while keeping L.A. clean and healthy.

“Previously dog bag dispensers were stocked by the City, but were extremely expensive to maintain and sometimes cost upwards of $16,000 to purchase bags annually for one dispenser,” says Bill Lopez of the City of Los Angeles Dept. of Parks and Recreation. “Our hope is that this new program will cut down these costs in order to help make the dispensers a sustainable and long lasting part of the park landscape.”

The Take a Bag, Leave a Bag pilot program is made possible through “community sponsorships” where several community groups have teamed up with the Stormwater Program to oversee the dispensers. The local sponsors include Multnomah Elementary School, Hillside Village Property Owners, Friends of the Dog Park, and the Echo Park Trash Abatement Project. Sponsors will be in charge of ensuring that the dispensers stay stocked with bags and are well maintained, reporting to the City on their impact and level of effectiveness.

Meet Some of Our Sponsors:

Name: Luanna Allard, President

Organization: Hillside Village Property Owners

Park Location: Ascot Hills Park
“People were taking their dogs for walks in Ascot Hills Park and not picking up after them. We asked that a stand to hold plastic bags and trash cans be installed so everyone would clean up after their dogs. Now we have the ‘Take a Bag, Leave a Bag’ program to help keep our park clean. The timing could not have been better.”

Name: John Mainsterra, Magnet School Coordinator

Organization: Multnomah Elementary School

Park Location: Ascot Hills Park
“Our students are frequent visitors at the park. They will be educated in the importance of maintaining a clean and ‘green’ park environment for all to use. They will learn to become active members of their community in order to secure and maintain “green” space in their neighborhood.”

The effectiveness of the pilot program will be evaluated over the next several months. If there are signs that these dispensers are being stocked with bags and there is a decrease in unattended pet waste, the Stormwater Program may offer this program to other parks in the City.

The following four parks in the City of Los Angeles will be participating: Ascot Hills Park, Elysian Park, Sepulveda Basin Off-Leash Dog Park and Westminister Dog Park. Click here to see a map view of the park locations.

If you are interested in sponsoring a dispenser please contact us at (800) 974-9794 or [email protected].

Unattended pet waste may be washed into the storm drain by rain or irrigation run off. This toxic mix of dog waste and water then flows untreated into our local lakes, rivers and the ocean. The bacteria found in the fecal matter negatively affect our aquatic life, those who swim at our beaches, the tourism industry and our economy. The Take a Bag, Leave a Bag program aims to involve local community members in helping to prevent this “toxic soup” from making its way into our waterways in order to keep our local environment safe and clean for all to enjoy.


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