The same recycling bins that you see at single-family homes in Los Angeles will now be required at apartment buildings and businesses. That's just one of several sweeping changes included in a new ordinance regulating garbage pickup in the city of L.A.
"What we want to do is say OK, let's now require these apartments and commercial buildings to recycle. They are currently not required to recycle," said L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar.
Huizar has pushed for the changes since 2010. He says the new ordinance, which was approved Tuesday by a 12 to 1 vote, will also limit the amount of private companies allowed to haul garbage in L.A.
"So you have trucks driving all over the city right now, going all over the place, which is not good for our air quality. Secondly, these trucks are not regulated," said said Huizar.
Private garbage haulers will now be required to bid on exclusive rights to 11 designated zones in L.A. And the companies that are awarded the bids will have to adhere to certain safety standards for their workers, which was hailed as a victory by organized labor.
"When their health and safety standards go up, then that's good for all workers," said Maria Elena Durazo, Los Angeles Federation of Labor executive secretary-treasurer.
Critics say the new system will drive up costs and will make it impossible for small companies to compete for contracts. But city officials say that's not the case.
"Right now, the prices are all over the place. What we want to do is come up with an average price so that people are not paying very different prices for their trash to be picked up," said Huizar.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti is expected to sign the ordinance into law in the next 10 days, but the sweeping changes to the way L.A. collects its garbage will not go into effect until January 2017.