In a 12-to-one vote, the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday approved a transformative trash hauling system aimed at strengthening the city’s recycling program and reducing the number of garbage trucks on city streets.
The new “Zero Waste” system, backed by LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, would divide the city into 11 zones, limit the number of trash hauling companies allowed to operate and revolutionize the way in which businesses, apartments and condominiums handled waste.
“This is one of the most ambitious programs of its kind in the world and will provide clean air, good jobs, and recycling for all,” Garcetti said in a statement released Tuesday.
But some Angelenos fear the policy could have negative repercussions.
Opponents of the measure claimed the “exclusive franchise” system was bad for business with the potential to spike up trash collection service fees and push smaller companies out of business.
LA City Councilman Bernard Parks, the sole opponent in the vote Tuesday, called it “bad public policy.”
“We’ll be worse off because of it, and sadly a very small group of special interest groups are ignoring the benefits to the larger community and city of Los Angeles,” he added.
Backers of the program, however, said the new program would keep millions of tons of waste out of landfills and help LA meet its goal to recycle 90 percent of recyclable trash by 2025.
Currently, the city’s Bureau of Sanitation only manages trash collection from single-family homes, not commercial and multi-unit residential properties -- which are allowed to choose from any private company that offers the service.
Under the “Zero Waste” system, only one hauler would be allowed to serve commercial and multi-unit residential properties per zone.
Pending the Council’s final approval on April 8, companies would be required to bid for the chance to operate while adhering to environmental and worker safety regulations implemented by the city.