For years, the waste and recycling system servicing Los Angeles businesses and apartment buildings has been a "Wild West" -- resulting in over-reliance on landfills, unnecessary truck impacts, unfair customer rates and a safe haven for abusive employers. But a critical City Council hearing on August 29 brought us one big step closer to cleaner air, better jobs and recycling for all.
Brushing aside a deeply flawed City Administrator Officer report and an egregiously biased editorial from the Los Angeles Times, the LA City Council Energy & Environment Committee and Ad Hoc Committee on Waste Reduction & Recycling approved a plan proposed by LAANE and the Don't Waste LA Coalition to overhaul L.A.'s commercial and multi-family waste and recycling system. The plan, developed in collaboration with dozens of leading environmental and community groups such as the Sierra Club and the NRDC, would create strong standards to promote recycling, protect workers and reduce pollution.
Opponents have pulled out all the stops to defeat the proposal, predicting massive rate increases and the demise of the free market as we know it. Their hyperbolic warnings only underscore their desperation to preserve a status quo that brings great profit and convenience to a few at the expense of far too many.
With this week's victory, that system moves closer to the trash bin of history.
Greg Good is the director of LAANE's Don't Waste LA project.