Los Angeles

Do's and Don'ts of Recycling in LA

The NBC4 I-Team has been tracking the piles of problems connected to the city of Los Angeles' new recycling and trash program, RecycLA.

It manages the waste of commercial businesses and multi-family buildings and was implemented in July of 2017.

In February, a report by the city on the program showed more than 6,100 missed pickups in December 2017 and over 5,500 missed pickups in January 2018.

New numbers provided to the I-Team shows hundreds of missed collections, but they have dropped significantly for the seven service providers from February into August. 

I-Team investigates the recycling program working with the city of Los Angeles.

"We have had a total of only 6,000; we had nine million successful collections during the same period of time," Elena Stern, the Senior Public Information Director for the Department of Public Works, City of Los Angeles.

City data shows more than $129,000 in penalties, called "liquidated damages" have been handed out to the companies for missed pickups. Analysis of the data shows about 8 percent of those fees have actually been paid. The city of Los Angeles says the companies have the right to appeal.

"If they had some justification then we need to see it and we need to review it with them," Stern added.

However, the I-Team found, for example, one of the companies in the program, Republic Services, was assessed for $45,800; it appealed $7,400 and has only paid $4,400. 

Republic Services says in a statement:

"Along with six other waste haulers, Republic Services is a proud and committed partner with the City of Los Angeles in the most ambitious recycling program ever introduced in the United States. Republic Services manages two of the largest zones in the recycLA program that include over 18,000 customers. We continually adjust routes and staff and resources so that we can deliver the level of service that is expected of us and we pride ourselves on. We are pleased with the improvements in all aspects of implementing the recycLA program as it matures. If any hauler-partner falls short of its contractual obligations, our contracts allow the City to assess financial penalties for missed pickups and other infractions. The process of imposing penalties also allows each recycLA service provider the opportunity to dispute violations that it considers unfair or erroneously applied. Through cleaner-burning trucks, more efficient routes, increased diversion and new food waste collection programs to help feed those in need, the City of Los Angeles is already seeing the benefits of the recycLA program. We are proud of our participation in this bold venture and look forward to continuing to help the City achieve its recycling and diversion goals." 

For more on recycLA, Click Here

Thousands of missed trash pickups are causing a mess. Lolita Lopez investigates on NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Sept. 3, 2018.
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