- The Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation (LASAN) recently announced its new "RecycLA" program to begin raising awareness among residents and business owners that will soon be part of the city's new franchise collection system.
- According to LASAN, this program will cover an estimated 80,000 commercial and multi-unit residential buildings in the city. About four-fifths of those buildings don't currently have access to regular recycling collection.
- The transition toward this new franchise collection system will officially begin on July 1, with full implementation slated for January 2018.
Following multiple years of planning, negotiations and legislative discussion, this concept received its final approval in December 2016. The system will divide collection up into 11 zones, among seven haulers, and is said to have attracted $200 million in infrastructure commitments. The initial contracts run for 10 years. Los Angeles has set a goal of 90% diversion by 2025, with penalties in place for not hitting reduction targets toward that end.
While the companies involved include some of the industry's largest players, who say they will be ready to go for the July start date, some skepticism remains about the transition and ultimate efficiency of a franchise system on this scale. In the short-term, the city has already received reports of service interruption due to route changes or smaller haulers that aren't part of the new system deciding to close up shop early. As discussions about similar franchise systems move ahead in cities such as New York and nearby Long Beach, these examples could be used as evidence by opponents.
In the long-term, potential success in Los Angeles could serve as a key example of what is possible for streamlining collections and providing organics recycling access in particular to residents of multi-unit buildings. The city has been very active on organics policies so far this year, driven in part by a state diversion mandate. Within the past month Los Angles has announced a collection pilot at its airport, an in-sink disposal pilot in one neighborhood and the creation of a "Zero Food Waste Task Force."