Politics, government and public life for Southern California

New trash regulations for apartments, businesses move forward at LA City Council

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By 2017, a new system will be in place to collect trash at city apartment buildings and businesses in Los Angeles. On Wednesday, the L.A. City Council approved a set of guidelines to govern that system. 

The Bureau of Sanitation is responsible for single-family homes, but private trash haulers pick up garbage at multifamily and commercial locations. The city is in the process of implementing an exclusive franchise system, which will divide Los Angeles into 11 zones, each with one waste hauler. Supporters say the new system will reduce pollution and force companies to implement higher safety and recycling standards. 

"With this plan we are hoping to increase competition, increase recycling, improve working conditions and build a fairer system," said Councilman Jose Huizar, chair of the Energy and Environment Committee. 

Operators will be required to:

  • Give all customers recycling and green waste collection options
  • Pay workers a living wage set by the city
  • Allow the city to inspect and certify trash facilities 
  • Establish a city hotline for employee complaints
  • Operate low-emission vehicles
  • Cap increases on trash rates 

The exclusive franchise system is opposed by the LA Area Chamber of Commerce, Valley Industry and Commerce Association, Central City Association and other pro-business groups. Representatives from area hospitals also complained that the new system would not meet their needs. 

The council instructed the Bureau of Sanitation to start the process of finding companies interested in receiving the franchise agreements. Those proposals are expected back in February 2014. 

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