LA’s recycling program shows signs of progress

LA’s recycling program shows signs of progress

The number of complaints pertaining to Los Angeles’ new recycling program has dropped dramatically over the last month.

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March 12, 2018
Edited by Adam Redling
Commercial Waste Hauling Municipal Recycling

The number of complaints pertaining to Los Angeles’ new recycling program has dropped dramatically over the last month, according to the Los Angeles Times. RecycLA, which was instituted in July 2017, drew sharp criticism and complaints for missed collections and other issues, resulting in more than 28,000 complaints in its first six months of operation. In January alone, the city’s Bureau of Sanitation noted that it had received 5,559 complaints. However, that number dwindled to 1,757 complaints in February—a 68 percent reduction.

Under the new recycling program, seven haulers were granted franchise agreements to collect commercial waste in 11 geographical areas across the city. While this was touted as a way to cut down on the number of waste trucks on the road and help streamline collection practices, the haulers had trouble fulfilling their obligations, which led to numerous complaints. Some in the area had even proposed rolling back the franchising system in recent months.

Although it is just one month of data, the drastic reduction in complaints is a promising step that the city hopes to build off of.

"The problem has not been solved, but we have been working hard to remedy the concerns voiced by customers," Elena Stern, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Works, which oversees the sanitation bureau, said according to the report. "These numbers clearly indicate that we are moving in the right direction."

Robert Nothoff, who oversees the nonprofit group responsible for RecycLA, the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, attributes the decline in complaints to the end of the city’s transition period on Jan. 31. In February, the city gained the power to impose fees on haulers that failed to fulfill their hauling obligations.

"As we've been saying all along, the program needs time to work itself out," Nothoff says.