Businesses Keep Pushing to End the New Trash Pick Up System

2018 April Editions Updates

Owners of businesses and apartment buildings are still trying to end the new trash collection system in Los Angeles for commercial and multi-family properties.

One business group is trying to collect enough signatures by Apr. 25 for a ballot initiative in November that, if passed, would effectively undo the new system. A group of apartment owners is pressing ahead with a lawsuit to kill the new system on the ground that its fees are actually taxes imposed without the required voter approval.

In the new system, which began last year, business and apartment owners must use a trash hauler designated by the city, rather than choose their own haulers from among competing companies. The city says the new system is needed to meet state laws to reduce trash and pollution, increase recycling and improve health and safety. Business and apartment owners say trash bills have soared and service has declined. Those complaints have been verified in press reports, (though some businesses in NELA have told the Boulevard Sentinel that trash pick-up has improved in recent weeks). 

In response to the complaints, City Councilmembers Mitch Englander and Paul Krekorian made a motion to tell the City Attorney to report on what it would take to cancel the city’s contracts with the designated trash haulers. The move seems intended to send a message to the trash haulers to do a better job – or else! Specifically, city officials want the haulers to do more to help businesses lower their bills by recycling more. The motion has been sent to the relevant committee for a hearing, but no hearing had been scheduled as of press time. 

The Boulevard Sentinel emailed the councilmembers from Northeast L.A. to ask what they think of the motion. Councilmember José Huizar did not respond. Councilmember Gil Cedillo said through a spokesperson that he was “neutral” on the motion and that if it ever comes before the City Council for a vote, he “would have to consider the merits of removing/keeping the program.”

The Boulevard Sentinel also contacted Universal Waste Systems (UWS), the designated hauler in NELA, about the uncertain future of the new trash collection program. Joe Matz, the Los Angeles area district manager, said the new program was the first to attempt such big changes in such a short time frame. He said his “honest belief is that this program will accomplish all of [its] goals,” while creating a transparent, efficient and reliable trash-collection system.