The Los Angeles City Council gave final approval today to a new system for picking up trash from businesses, apartments and condominiums.
The franchise system will divide the city into 11 zones and reduce the number of waste-hauling companies permitted to operate within the city. The council gave the system preliminary approval last week, but because the vote was not unanimous, the council needed to cast a final vote today.
The new process is slated to begin in 2017. It will allow just one hauler to serve commercial and multi-unit residential properties in each of the city's 11 zones.
The city's Bureau of Sanitation handles trash collection from single- family homes, but commercial and multi-unit residential property owners can hire any private waste hauling company they choose.
The implementation of the franchise program could affect as many as 45 private waste-hauling companies serving about 63,000 customers in Los Angeles, officials said.
Companies will be required to bid for the opportunity to operate within the city and adhere to environmental and worker safety regulations imposed by the city.
The new system requires haulers to provide three bins, as the city does at properties it serves -- a blue one for recyclable items, a green bin for organic waste and a black container for trash.
Backers of the program say it will increase recycling and help the city meet a goal of diverting 90 percent of trash away from landfills by 2025. They also contend it will result in fewer truck trips and improve worker safety.
Opponents, however, argued the system will put smaller companies out of business and potentially drive up the cost of trash collection.
Councilman Jose Huizar, who championed the program, was not at today's meeting due to illness, but said he was "extremely pleased" that the city "will now move toward making sure our recycling in commercial, condo and apartment buildings is on par with our curbside single-family program, which is the best big-city program in the nation."
He said the program will create "greener standards for operators, improved conditions for workers and better, more consistent service for customers."
--City News Service