The non-exclusive commercial waste collection franchise system was developed to comply with the State’s new Mandatory Commercial Waste Recycling Law (AB 341) and to provide customers with improved trash collection and recycling services. It was designed to more readily respond to public attitudes towards solid waste management systems which foster environmental stewardship. The program also meets the public demand for improved services, and addresses their future needs.
In July 2012, the open market system was replaced with the Non-exclusive Franchise System. Waste haulers must enter into an agreement with the Department in order to service the residents and businesses in unincorporated areas that utilize dumpster/roll-off trash collection service, such as commercial and apartment/condominium properties.
Roadmap to a Sustainable and Waste-Free Future for Los Angeles County Unincorporated Areas
To work towards this vision, the Department of Public Works (Department) will examine current waste diversion/recycling efforts in the commercial waste sector within the unincorporated areas in Los Angeles County. The steps to reach this vision include conducting a waste characterization study, establishing a business recycling plan, considering the adoption of a mandatory ordinance for waste haulers to recycle, and developing a database system (SWIMS) to organize trash collection and disposal data.
Benefits to Environmental Resources
- Overall Environmental Enhancement. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), methane is the second most prevalent greenhouse gas emitted in the nation from human activities. Methane is generated in landfills as waste decomposes. The Department is doing its part to reduce the level of greenhouse gas emissions by offering free recycling services to businesses and apartment complexes thus diverting solid waste from landfills.
- Less Pollution. As an incentive, waste haulers now use clean-fuel trash collection vehicles as opposed to the previous diesel burning trucks. The result is less pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and noise to the communities.
- Conservation of Materials and Energy. Food waste comprises a large amount of landfill waste. By reducing the amount of food waste going into the waste stream, the need to expend energy to grow, process, store, sell, and consume the food will be reduced. Diverting food/food waste to better uses such as feeding the hungry or composting to make rich fertilizer is not only environmentally responsible, it also serves as a humanitarian act of kindness.
• Renewable Energy. The Department is developing strategies for recycling and diverting materials from landfills into renewable energy.
Contribution to wellbeing of DPW and the County
- Improved Customer Service. Customers receive improved trash collection service through the non-exclusive franchise system, which ensures a standardized trash collection service, monitors the activities of waste haulers and promptly addresses inconsistencies in a timely manner. Communities enjoy cleaner and safer streets by the free collection of abandoned debris and bulky items.
- Dual-compartment Clean-fuel Trucks. Explore the use of these trucks to collect both recyclables and green waste on the same trip, thereby reducing truck traffic, noise, and pollution to the communities.
- Graffiti Removal. Customers can now request to have graffiti promptly removed from the trash containers. The aesthetics of the community will be enhanced.
- Safety. The commercial franchise trash collection system helps ensure uninterrupted and timely collection of trash and protects the health and safety of the public from unsanitary and unsafe conditions.
Contribution to Economic Health
- Funding for Program Administration. Franchise fees collected from waste haulers provides sustainable funding to offset the cost of administering, monitoring and implementing the franchise system and its programs for businesses.
- Preserving Jobs for Small Businesses. The non-exclusive franchise system provides incentives for small businesses to operate in the Department through the Local Small Business Enterprise Preference Program; which levels the playing field to allow small haulers to compete.
- Competitive Pricing. Customers have the option of shopping around for the best rate under the non-exclusive franchise system. Previously, customers were locked into long term contracts with hefty early-termination fees. Haulers now have to reduce their prices to be competitive, which results in a win-win situation for the customers.