RecycLA: The Future of LA Sanitation

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By Enrique Zaldivar, Director and General Manager LA Sanitation

October 26, 2017

Beginning July 1, LA Sanitation and the City of Los Angeles launched a new recycling and waste collection program for businesses and apartments throughout the city, called “recycLA.” Aimed at relegating stinky, unhealthy landfills to the past, this collaboration extends to the rest of the city the same recycling opportunities and levels of customer service, dependability and rate protections currently enjoyed by single family homes.

This new public-private partnership program is not just a transition of haulers. It is a system-wide change that will yield a multitude of benefits —  citywide recycling services, better customer services and recycling education. It will generate jobs, reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality.

RecycLA separates the city into 11 zones that will be served exclusively by a single service provider. Each of the 11 zones is further broken down into smaller sub-zones to allow for a more gradual transition. Businesses and large apartment buildings in the Harbor area will be contacted by Athens Services in December 2017 to begin the transition phase. With more than 50 years of experience in serving Southern California, Athens Services is one of seven experienced service providers competitively selected under the recycLA program.

Under recycLA, all commercial and large apartment buildings in Los Angeles will now have the opportunity to recycle. In fact, recycling is now free and part of the base package. Before, recycling was only automatically available to single-family homes in the Los Angeles area. An estimated 1.1 million tons of waste from landfills will be diverted through recycLA, helping reduce the city’s dependence on landfills and ensuring compliance with state environmental mandates.

Not only will recycLA offer recycling, it will include free bin cleaning and graffiti removal. Customers also have access to 24-hour customer service by calling LA Sanitation’s Customer Care Center at (800) 773-2489. One of the commitments the city government has made is to manage customer care for the entire program to ensure consistent and uniform high-quality customer service.

This new program is creating new jobs in the Harbor Area, serviced by Athens Services, and throughout Los Angeles. Athens has already created over 150 new jobs to help educate and guide customers through the program transition and beyond, and will continue to add more employment opportunities as it expands its customer base.

RecycLA will help ease traffic congestion by consolidating truck routes and reducing the number of trucks that are deployed on any one street. Under the previous system, there were as many as 8 to 10 service providers servicing properties on a single street, like Gaffey, where numerous businesses operate. Athens Services is investing in more than 100 new near-zero emission vehicles that will not only serve to ease congestion but will also decrease pollution. The Los Angeles Harbor area will benefit directly, especially as the community continues to expand and welcome new developments like the long-awaited 16-acre Ports O’ Call renovation project.

RecycLA is transforming the way all commercial and industrial businesses, institutions and large apartment buildings manage waste. The transparent and predictable rates, determined through an exhaustive and thorough contract negotiation process with city officials and recycLA service providers, are the same for all customers across Los Angeles.

Until now, waste collection in the city for commercial and large apartment buildings was not regulated and operated largely in the shadows. Customers paid different rates and there were no standards or protections in place to protect the environment or service provider employees. Because companies were not required to pay certain fees or minimum wage to their employees, or invest in the safety or cleanliness of their equipment and facilities, they were able to charge artificially low rates. Under these previous rates, service providers would not be able to provide the current services, benefits and customer support expectations now set by the State of California and the City of Los Angeles.

During the month of December, we encourage customers to take advantage of waste assessments offered by Athens Services to right-size their service plan. Athens Services will contact customers in the Harbor area to schedule on-site meetings to guide them through a “right-sizing” process we call a “waste assessment.” In working with trained recycLA customer service representatives, customers will be able to receive the most efficient, cost-effective waste and recycling package for their business or property. They will be educated on how to recycle more and save money by doing so. Customers can also contact LA Sanitation at (800) 773-2489 or to schedule a waste assessment.

This innovative program is part of the Los Angeles’s commitment to enhance the quality of life in Los Angeles by improving the roads that we travel and the overall cleanliness of Los Angeles, and cutting pollution emissions. Together, we can make waste and landfills history.