Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed into law Tuesday an overhaul of the city’s trash collection program for businesses and large apartment buildings. Advocates say it will keep some garbage out of landfills by increasing recycling, create jobs and reduce truck traffic.
Just before signing the Zero Waste L.A. ordinance, Garcetti called the plan “groundbreaking” and said it fit with his back-to-basics agenda.
“There’s nothing more basic in the city than trash collection,” he said.
Garcetti said that 70% of the city waste sent to landfills comes from commercial and large apartment buildings. The recycling rate for those properties is 19%, compared to 75% for residential properties, he said.
The changes will not affect roughly 750,000 single-family homes or apartment buildings with four units or fewer, which get their trash and recyclables hauled by city workers.
Up to now, landlords for businesses and apartments have chosen from scores of competing businesses to haul their trash. That disorganized system caused traffic, sometimes with multiple trucks on the same block, Garcetti said.
“Out there on the streets, it was the wild, wild West,” Garcetti said. The haulers in the city serve a $250-million market with approximately 63,000 properties, according to the Bureau of Sanitation.
“This is one major step in the right direction,” said Jackie Cornejo, project director for the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy.
Cornejo said her organization, which was a driving force behind approval of the law, estimates that it will create 20,000 jobs in the next 10 years.