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LA Moving Toward Franchising Trash Collection

After an hours-long public hearing, a pair of Los Angeles City Council committees today recommended implementing a new system of collecting trash from apartment complexes and businesses by carving the city into a series of districts and awarding exclusive contracts to private haulers in each area.

The recommendation, which still needs the approval of the full City Council, came after sometimes-passionate testimony from business leaders and representatives of trash haulers, some of whom insisted that awarding exclusive contracts would stifle competition, leading to higher costs and driving smaller companies out of business.

Members of the council’s Energy and Environment Committee and Ad Hoc Committee on Waste Reduction and Recycling backed the exclusive franchise concept, which was supported earlier this year by the Board of Public Works, the mayor and some labor groups.

The committees’ recommendation came despite a report issued late last week by City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, who said the city could amend its existing system and implement a non-exclusive franchise system that would generate revenue, be enacted faster and ensure that smaller companies could compete for contracts.

That proposal was hailed by business leaders who said such a system would subject all haulers to a strict standards and prevent monopolies being created in various city districts.

Whichever arrangement is ultimately approved by the full council, it would not affect the city’s collection of trash from single-family homes and smaller apartment buildings.

After the council acts, city staffers will have four months to develop an implementation plan for the new system.