la recycling
Trash litters the street in an upscale neighborhood after LA homeless ransack trash for plastic bottles.

I’m quite often struck by how counter productive LA’s recycling program(s) seems to be.  These three pictures that were taken within blocks of each other illustrate the point.

Angelenos are paying as consumers an added price for the containers their drinks etc are in, then paying much higher rates for their trash pickup because of the separate recycle bins.

Failed LA Recycling Program
Homeless line up at the recycling center with plastic bottles they have taken from the neighborhood recycling bins.

Yet when the recycle truck comes, the bins are rather empty.  In my neighborhood it is common to hear people rummaging through the recycling bins on private property to remove all the plastic bottles.  This continues into the day and when the trash collectors come to collect the recycling bin, it is rather empty.

The next little problem is that in a neighborhood where most people are paying in the neighborhood of $2500 per month rent, they shouldn’t have to get up in the mornings and pick up all the trash the homeless threw all over the street and their yards in their search for plastic bottles!

It seems too that neighborhoods where the RecycLA program is in effect and have the separate recycle bins, there have been large influxes of homeless that set up camp to empty out the bins.

Recycling is a good idea, but our programs don’t make sense. Consumers are paying more for their beverages etc, then paying as much as three times as much for trash pickup due to the program.  Then the extra money we paid up front for our beverages goes either to the trash collection company or the homeless person that emptied out all the bins before the trash company got to them.

According to the Los Angeles Times, there is a ballot initiative ongoing to eliminate some of the problems with the recycling program brought in as RecycLA, but a lot more is needed to make the program more efficient and effective.

LA Homeless problem
A bus stop bench is rendered useless by a homeless man that has taken it over.