An innovative private curb-side recycling project in Woodland Hills will be discontinued because recyclable trash went uncollected this weekend, its organizer said Sunday.
The Woodland Hills Homeowners Organization, which established the first private communitywide recycling collection effort in the city of Los Angeles in January, had raised nearly $7,000 for the Foundation for Pierce College through the project, said Robert Gross, vice president of the homeowners organization.
Earlier this month, Community Recycling Center, the Sylmar-based company that the homeowners organization contracted with to collect the recyclable materials, had reduced its twice-monthly pickups to once a month. But on Saturday, the appointed day for collection, none of the trash left on curb sides was removed, Gross said.
"I drove the whole community, and there was nothing picked up anywhere," Gross said. "It was a serious disappointment. . . . We'll cancel the program for the time being."
He said he called a company official who told him two trucks had gone out to collect recyclable trash about 10 a.m. Saturday. Community Recycling Center officials could not be reached for comment.
Gross, who organized the project, said he received about 50 calls Saturday and Sunday from people complaining that their recyclable trash was not picked up.
"It's created a significant hardship to the community," Gross said. "A lot are older people who believe in recycling, and they care about Pierce College. Now they've just got these wet, soggy newspapers on their curbing."
Gross said the organization may sue the recycling company for money owed the homeowners group from collections dating to September. He estimated the amount to be at least $400.
The project allowed people to leave recyclable goods, such as newspapers, aluminum, plastic and glass bottles, on their curbs for monthly pickup, Gross said. The homeowners group was paid $45 per ton of material and the money raised was donated to Pierce, he said.
Bins at College
If residents did not want to leave the items on their curb, they could discard them in two designated bins on the Pierce campus, Gross said. Those bins also went uncollected this week, he said, despite officials' calls to the recycling center. Gross said that nobody had been by to collect the trash from those receptacles for at least 2 weeks.
"We can't have that," Gross said. "It's an embarrassment to our organization and to the campus."
Gross said he will notify the company today that it has 24 hours to remove the overflowing bins at Pierce.
The recycling effort has faced some difficulties since being launched. Several residents have complained that crews failed to pick up their discarded materials, and others said that scavengers made off with some of the items.
About 15% of the area residents participated in the recycling effort, Gross said, and more than 10 tons of paper were collected each month.
Gross views the problems as a temporary setback. He said he hopes to start a new recycling program for Woodland Hills early next year.