Staff Coordinator: Lauren Ramezani, Sr. Administrative Analyst


Approve a pilot 3-cart automated solid waste program in two select sections of the City.


Waste Management of Los Angeles (WM) services 95% of the residential areas of the City. WM provides RPV customers twice a week curbside, once a week commingled recycling and once a week green waste recycling service. All these services are offered through a manual collection system (the driver comes down from his truck and manually picks up and empties each can.) WM provides blue cans for commingled recycling and green cans for green waste recycling. Customers provide their own trash cans. The City's current seven-year residential contracts expire on June 30, 2007, with three possible one-year extensions. The last time the City went out for competitive bids was in FY 98/99. During that time, one of the key issues was the choice of changing to an automated collection system versus maintaining the existing manual system. After a City-wide survey, several public meetings and Council meetings, the City Council decided to maintain the manual system.


There are benefits and weaknesses to any collection system. However, approximately 70% of the cities in Los Angeles County have an automated collection system. Most notably, Rolling Hills Estates (RHE), which similar to RPV currently has a twice a week manual collection system, has just awarded a contract for a 3-cart automated once a week collection program. This was after RHE went through a competitive bid process where the bidders all proposed a 3-cart automated system for that city.

Given the number of cities that have recently implemented automated collection systems, the fact that an automated collection system would likely increase diversion, and because an automated collection system would address a concern many of our residents raise that it would be a more equitable system in that rates would be based on amount of trash collected, staff believes it would be productive to implement a pilot program to assess how such a program would work in RPV. Staff expects to use what we learn with the pilot program when we consider collection options when a new waste hauling contract is advertised in the future.

Staff and Waste Management have discussed implementing a 3-cart automated program in two small sections of the City. Both agree that the pilot program will be a good opportunity to provide much needed input and actual experience before the next bid process.

The benefits of the pilot program are:

  1. Gathering valuable data between an automated system versus a manual system. The data would include seeing recycling tonnage variations, trash tonnage variations and green waste tonnage variations between the two systems. Additionally, by looking at the trash tonnage, the City can see how practical a variable rate system (pay-as-you-throw) will be for a future contract.
  2. Providing hands-on experience in dealing with potential problems such as cart handling and maneuverability by customers, cart storage issues, parking and curb space availability on collection days, choosing the right cart sizes for the different services, and geographic difficulties and road conditions such as Palos Verdes Drive East's (PVDE) area that has steep driveways, and narrow and windy roads.
  3. Providing confirmation that recycling improves when carts are used. Typically, the larger commingled recycling cart sizes make recycling easier.
  4. Providing various size options, more durable and higher quality carts to customers.
  5. Uniformity of carts and cart colors in a neighborhood.

The pilot will be conducted in two small areas of the City. The Eastside area is a more geographically challenging area with narrower and steeper roads, while the Westside area is a less challenging and more indicative of the majority of the City streets. These areas were also chosen because they are small isolated pockets that can make servicing and tracking of the pilot program easier and with a minimum of confusion with the non-pilot area. (See map attached).

One area is in the Eastside, off of the Palos Verdes Drive East area and includes these streets: Rockinghorse Road and smaller streets such as Stirrup Road and Lane, Saddle Road, and Golden Spur, Toprail and Bridle Lanes; and further north, Mustang Road and smaller streets such as Cayuse and Surrey Lanes, Bronco and Martingale Drives, Stallion Road, and little Rockinghorse Road. It includes approximately 300 homes. Chaparral Lane and Rockinghorse Spur will continue to receive the Pup Service.

The second is area is in the Westside, off of Hawthorne Blvd. and Silver Spur Road. It includes these streets: Silver Arrow, Warrior, Long Hill, Fawnskin, Flaming Arrow, Littlewood, Larchbluff, Elmbridge, Elkridge, Oaklon, Beechgate, Golden Arrow and Lone Valley Drives, Browndeer Lane, Sunny Point Place, Seashell Way, Oconto Avenue, and Halescorner and DelaCroix Roads. It includes approximately 590 homes.

The pilot program will include:

For public education and outreach, residents in each area will receive a mailer, followed by two Saturday breakfast meetings in their neighborhood. These meetings will provide an opportunity for the affected customers to see the carts, maneuver them, choose their preferred cart size(s), and ask WM and City representative's questions or discuss their concerns. Once the program is under way, a follow up survey will be given to solicit feedback about what works, what does not, and how things can change or improve. If the pilot program is approved, the outreach program will start in January/February 2005 with the pilot implemented in April 2005. (See attached schedule)

It is important to note that the pilot program will continue for the duration of WM's contract, which is approximately two years from the start of the pilot program, with the possibility of three one-year contract extensions. To un-train customers after they get used to the automated carts will be counter-productive and inconvenient to them.


  1. Do not do a pilot program.
  2. Modify the pilot program and/or areas.


Adopting the staff recommendation would initiate a pilot 3-cart automated solid waste program in two select areas of the City. If approved the pilot program will start as early as April 2005.

There is no fiscal impact to the City or customers. There will be no rate changes.

Respectfully Submitted:


Dean E. Allison, Director of Public Works

Reviewed by:


Les Evans, City Manager