Report Recommends Competitive Franchise System for Waste and Recycling in L.A.’s Businesses and Large Apartments


For Immediate Release

Gina Palencar
(213) 977-9400 x100 or (323) 533-3516

Current System Fails to Provide Adequate Recycling Services, Fair Rates, Environmental Protections and Will Prevent LA From Reaching Zero Waste Goals


Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) released a 26-page report today exposing the failures of the commercial and multifamily waste and recycling system for businesses and large apartments. The report calls for comprehensive change to the existing permit systems – and recommends the adoption of a competitive franchise that would bring standards and accountability to the entire system.

LAANE, part of the Don’t Waste LA Coalition, an alliance of 30 environmental, labor, faith and community groups, was joined by City Council members Jose Huizar and Paul Koretz at a City Hall press conference, where they outlined the challenges and the possibilities in the private, commercial waste sector. “As this report recommends, the problems with LA’s commercial waste and recycling system are real and systemic. But if we address those challenges systemically – with a competitive franchise system that combines the commercial and multifamily sectors, ours can be a system for clean air, green jobs and more recycling for all Angelenos,” said Koretz.

According to the report, among the negative impacts of the current system is Los Angeles’ continued reliance on landfills. Council Member Jose Huizar focused on the issue to open the press conference: “We’re here with a sense of urgency for the need to increase recycling rates from our commercial and multifamily waste system in LA,” said Huizar. “While great progress has been made by the City, particularly over the past year, the current pace of progress is not fast enough to ensure that we will reach the Zero Waste goals we’ve set by 2030, with many benchmarks coming before then.”

Despite the City’s efforts and improving recycling rates, Los Angeles sends over 3.5 million tons of trash to landfills and incinerators every year, and a full 70 percent of that comes from workplaces and apartment complexes. The high percentage is due to a lack of recycling options and incentives in the commercial and multifamily sector which leaves many frustrated Angelenos unable to recycle at home and at work.

According to the report, the region’s landfills are reaching maximum capacity, with some set to close in the next few years – and inadequate plans for where to send waste that is not diverted. To avoid the looming crisis, the City of Los Angeles established a set of Zero Waste goals to reduce reliance on landfills and incinerators and increase the amount of waste diversion to 70 percent by 2013, 90 percent by 2025, and eventually reaching zero waste by 2030. However, the Don’t Waste Coalition claims the current system will not allow Los Angeles to reach those goals.

Other negative consequences of the system outlined in the report are varying and unfair rates charged to customers for service, an inability by the city to track where waste is going once it is collected, and a lack of standards to mitigate impacts of the industry such as air pollution due to dirty trucks. “The City of LA has the largest clean fleet of collection trucks in the nation servicing its single family homes, yet, in stark contrast, the private industry waste hauling trucks servicing LA’s businesses and apartments are exempt from the region’s toughest clean air standards for this industry,” said Sabrina Bornstein, Research and Policy Analyst for LAANE, and author of the report.

“We recommend the City raise standards and create accountability through a franchise system whereby the City can partner with companies and customers to achieve our zero waste goals which are critical to the economic and environmental health of or city,” she continued.

The report also states that workers in the commercial and multifamily waste sector often go without proper training and safety equipment to do their job’s, and to ensure the public’s and their own safety. “City of LA sanitation workers do tremendous work every day – and they are well-trained and supported; but waste and recycling jobs are some of the most dangerous and unhealthy jobs in the country,” said Bornstein.

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