LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Proponents of a divisive new recycling program, which critics say has led to skyrocketing bills and inefficient service, held a rally Wednesday in downtown Los Angeles.

The Don’t Waste LA Coalition demonstrated outside L.A. City Hall in support of recycLA, which was unanimously approved by the L.A. City Council in 2016 and took effect July 1, 2017.

Under RecycLA, seven companies handle an estimated $3.5 billion in commercial waste hauling in Los Angeles. Each company is assigned as the sole trash hauler for commercial sites and multi-family complexes in one or more of the city’s 11 zones.

Last year, several business and property owners told CBS2 they have seen their rates spike and have had missed service calls since the program too effect. They also lost their ability to shop around for more competitive prices.

The goal of recycLA was to expand recycling opportunities to thousands of businesses and apartment buildings, while also cutting down on pollution by reducing the number of trucks on the street. The Don’t Waste LA Coalition argues that recycLA are meeting those goals, and is asking city leaders to give the program more time. It claims that less one percent of customers have filed complaints with the program.

“Los Angeles City Councilmembers have expressed desire to eliminate the program using initial challenges in the implementation as an excuse,” the coalition said in a news release.

However, according to a report from the Bureau of Sanitation, there have been over 28,000 calls connected to missed service pickups from July 2017 through the end of January. Some council members have also reported some constituents receiving bills two, three or four times higher than before the program began.

“What has been happening is not the world-class commercial wastehauling system the City Council voted for, it is not the system that LA Sanitation designed, and we must not put up with any companies who are not performing to the high standards we set. Period,” Councilman Paul Koretz said in January.

The Bureau of Sanitation found that 67 percent of customer have received no extra fees, but the rest — more than 18,000 customers — have received them for either distance or access, with 6 percent being charged for both.

In February, in response to the criticism, council members Mitch O’Farrell and Mike Bonin held a news conference at City Hall to demand improvements to the program.

(©2018 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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