RecycLA adds recycling — at a price

| November 2, 2017 | 0 Comments

FLEET OF NEW clean-fuel trucks is part of the roll out — set to start this month.

The City of Los Angeles’ new trash and recycle collection program for large apartments (five or more units) and all businesses, “recycLA,” is set to roll out on Larchmont Blvd. and surrounding areas this month.

Aimed to trim trash in landfills by 97 percent by 2030, the program has lofty goals and, some say, equally lofty prices.

“We’ve been working on this program for a long time… so that we could do this as the best we could,” said Los Angeles Sanitation spokesperson Heather Johnson.

Proponents contend that the program is bringing recycling service to 80,000 commercial enterprises that did not have the option before.

Representatives for Athens Services, North Central Zone, are meeting with customers on Larchmont Blvd., the Farmers Market and other local areas to assess their waste needs. The new service is set to start this month, said Wendy Bruget, director of government affairs at Athens Services. (Athens’s North Central zone stretches from Olympic Blvd. to the Hollywood Fwy and Mulholland Dr., between Beverly Hills and the 100 freeway.)

North Central is one of 11 new monopoly zones throughout the city, each serviced by one of seven service providers.

Previously commercial entities had 45 different companies, their trucks crisscrossing the city, contributing to traffic congestion and air pollution, proponents of the new program say.

Skeptics say that so many different companies meant lower prices because of competition.

Rising rates

While the city claims there is a cap on the fees, officials acknowledge that prices indeed are rising to pay for the recycling costs and a new fleet of natural gas, clean-fuel trucks.

Graffiti removal, yearly bin cleaning and outreach and education are also included in the fees. The new rates start at $216.72 monthly for weekly service. Costs go up if there’s a locked or other hindered access or the bins have to be rolled far to a truck. These add-ons were generally included in the former more competitive system.

One Larchmont merchant, who asked to remain anonymous, was contacted by an Athens rep last month and told the store’s waste collection rates would be increasing 50 percent.

Customers in areas where the service has commenced have complained of spotty service.

“As for missed collections, with the number of accounts that are being transferred citywide (over 800,000), there are unfortunately a few hiccups,” said Sanitation’s Heather Johnson.

“On any given day, our Customer Care Center receives anywhere from 4,000-6,000 calls. Only about 400-600 calls are related to recycLA, and many of those calls are for information or scheduling a waste assessment,” she added.

Los Angeles City Council approved the program in December of 2016, and it went into effect July 1, with a transition period continuing to the end of this year. Commercial customers will receive one black and one blue bin with the green yard waste container to come at a later date.

Initially, letters were mailed by the Los Angeles Sanitation Dept. to the Larchmont area.

Zuzanna Mackiewicz, office manager for the Leimert Investment Company building where the Larchmont Chronicle office is located at 606 N. Larchmont, said that her company has received multiple letters about the new program from the office of the Mayor and recycLA. In late October, Athens scheduled a meeting with Mackiewicz for November.

Commercial customers are encouraged to call Sanitation’s 24-hour customer care center at 1-800-773-2489 with questions or to schedule their waste assessments.

Athens rep Alex Morales is also available at City Council offices by appointment. Call Councilman Paul Koretz’s office at 323-866-1828, or Councilman David Ryu’s office at 323-957-6415.

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