Los Angeles Points to What’s Wrong in Recycling

Currently, in the city of Los Angeles if you live in a residential home the government takes care of recycling matters under certain regulations to make for safe labor conditions and to minimize impact on the environment in terms of transportation of waste.  However, if you don’t live in a house and instead you live in an apartment complex, it is not up to the city to take care of your recycling but rather it’s just an optional thing that it’s up to the administrators of your facility to provide via a waste management private service of their choosing.  We’ve seen this story repeat itself over and over again on other industries: complete absence of regulation breeds wreckless apathy in businesses, which breeds dangerous health consequences for waste management workers, children, and our communities at large by polluting our air, rivers, and ocean.  LAANE, which promotes green economic initiatives to improve the environment that many working-class communities of color live in, is leading the charge via the “Don’t Waste L.A.” campaign to correct this and reports:

We need new standards in this industry:

[…] Processing facilities – where our trash is separated and sent either to landfills or recycling facilities – are operate with shockingly little oversight.  Consequently, verification of recycling and diversion compliance or job standards is nearly impossible. […]

L.A.’s waste and recycling system add to our clogged streets:

There are approximately 1,000 trucks on our roads hauling commercial and multi-family waste and recycling.   On any given city block you might see multiple t haulers, from different companies, on overlapping routes, picking up trash from adjacent buildings.  It’s a highly inefficient system that leads to more truck traffic on our streets and more accidents.

Our waste and recycling impact our air:

This year, the American Lung Association cited Los Angeles as the country’s worst city for quality of air.  Many waste hauling truck fleets have dirty diesel trucks that emit harmful pollutants into our air.  We need emissions standards to stop this poisoning of our environment.

Waste and recycling jobs dangerous:

Waste collection is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States.  In 2008, waste and recycling haulers nationally had a higher on-the-job fatality rate than firefighters or police officers.

Many haulers are driving dirty diesel trucks and breathing in dangerous fumes on a daily basis.

The trash that is picked up – including everything from needles to dead animals – may be sorted by people often working without adequate protection for their faces or hands.

Your view is your vote.  If you live in L.A., watch the 60 second video above, comment, and pass it on to your friends and family.  Then join the “Don’t Waste on L.A.” campaign here that is asking city leaders to restructure the commercial and multi-family waste and recycling system with standards to ensure clean trucks, good, green jobs, and more recycling.