If you’re still steaming about L.A.’s new trash system – which so far has resulted in poorer service and much higher costs – just wait.
The state is hitting businesses with a different plan next year: A new recycling mandate that calls on businesses to sort food waste and landscape trimmings from the rest of the trash and get a separate pickup for that.
As you may have read in the last issue of the Business Journal (“Stiff Price for Trash”), no one knows how much this will cost business operators, but the extra pickup alone could well be hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month for those businesses targeted by the law.
And if you think your business wouldn’t possibly be caught by this new state law, you may want to hold that jot of happiness. Any business that generates four cubic yards of organic waste a week would be hit. Four cubic yards is enough to fill a large dumpster – which, granted, is pretty big – but consider that the organic waste includes not only food but any food-contaminated wrappers or containers, such as napkins, paper plates and even pizza boxes. Oh, and remember that organic waste includes landscape trimmings – grass clippings, leaves, etc. – and suddenly that four-square-yard threshold starts looking small.
That means if you operate a medium-sized business with an employee cafeteria, you’ll probably be affected. Ditto if you are lucky enough to have a fair amount of landscaping around your building. Ditto if you own an apartment complex with five or more units. And if you operate a restaurant, even a small one, well, forget about it.
Another thing: if the state determines that it’s not meeting its organic recycling mandate, they can decrease the tipping point to two cubic yards, effective Jan. 1, 2020. Obviously, that means many more businesses would be caught in the new system in a couple of years.
In case it hasn’t occurred to you already, let’s mention this: It also means that if you are affected by the new law, you will have to come up with a system to sort the organic garbage from the rest of your trash. Another expense. Oh, and find room for another dumpster.
This is a new state law, so it means all businesses in California are potentially exposed. But businesses that also are in the city of Los Angeles, and that includes most of the San Fernando Valley, may really feel down in the dumps. That’s because of the city law that created franchised zones – some call them monopolies – recently for trash haulers. The result has been missed trash pickups and generally bad service along with much higher prices. One restaurateur quoted in our previous issue said his refuse pickup bill went from $895 a month to $2,200, which comports with other examples I’ve heard.