Los Angeles City Hall. Photo by John Schreiber.
Los Angeles City Hall. Photo by John Schreiber.

Seven waste hauling companies would handle about $3.5 billion in commercial waste hauling business in Los Angeles under recommendations advanced by the Board of Public Works Monday.

If the franchise awards are approved by the City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti, each of the companies would be assigned as the sole trash hauler for commercial sites and multi-family complexes in one or more of the city’s 11 zones. The exclusive, 10-year waste hauling franchise rights are set to take effect in July 2017.

Supporters of the franchise program, known as Zero Waste L.A., say the goal is to ensure that more trash is recycled, instead of sent to landfills. The program is also seen as a way to reduce air pollution from truck traffic and increase environmentally friendly job opportunities.

To earn the right to operate in the various geographic zones, waste hauling companies would need to meet certain environmental and employment standards set by the city.

Five large haulers will pick up trash in eight of the zones, while three smaller haulers will take on two downtown zones and one southeast zone.

The exclusive franchise rights only apply to commercial accounts, with the Bureau of Sanitation responsible for residential trash pick-up.

Robert Nothoff, the director of Don’t Waste L.A., a campaign that pushed for the exclusive franchise system, spoke in favor of moving forward with the Bureau of Sanitation’s recommendations as quickly as possible.

“Every day that the city delays its implementation is another day that it sends tons of waste to landfills and fails to create thousands of good green jobs that Angelenos need,” Nothoff said.

Linda Escalante, of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the companies that are awarded franchise rights would need to meet environmental standards in order to hold on to their business.

“Winning a waste franchise zone guarantees haulers 10 years of business in the very lucrative LA market, thus providing them with an incentive to deploy less polluting trash trucks, end dependence on landfills, and develop good jobs in the state-of-the-art green infrastructure needed to sort and process new waste streams,” Escalante said.

“But in order for Los Angeles to fulfill its potential as national leader in clean and sustainable waste collection, Zero Waste LA needs to start without delay.”

The recommended franchise rights awards went to:

— Athens, which would have the largest share of the customers with 21,864 accounts in West Los Angeles, Harbor and North Central zones;

— Republic Services, which would handle 16,820 accounts in the Northeast Valley and South Los Angeles zones;

— Waste Management, which would have 15,526 accounts in the West Valley and Southeast Valley zones;

— UWS, or Universal Waste Systems, with 6,106 accounts in the Northeast zone;

— NASA Services, which would get 1,771 customers in the Downtown zone;

— Ware Disposal, which would cover 1,817 customers in the Southeast zone; and

— CalMet Services, which is assigned to 1,013 accounts in the East Downtown zone.

–City News Service

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