Update on Altadena's Trash Contract (ACONA Meeting)

At Tuesday night's Altadena Coalition of Neighborhood Associations (ACONA) meeting, representatives of Altadena's new trash service franchise took audience questions and updated residents on the contract

By Justin Chapman, Altadena Patch, 11/2/2011

Tuesday night's Altadena Coalition of Neighborhood Associations (ACONA) meeting included discussion on two topics that previous attendees voted for on an online survey put together by ACONA's co-founder, Elliot Gold. The goal of ACONA, Gold said at the beginning of the meeting, is to "make Altadena the best neighborhood in LA County."
The first was an update on Altadena's new uniform trash collection service by officials and representatives from LA County and Athens Services since that company began trash and recycling pickup Sept. 5.
The second, which you can , had officials from the Altadena Sheriff's station and a co-founder of a Neighborhood Watch in east Altadena speaking about how residents can start their own Watch or Neighborhood Association, and why it's beneficial to do so.
The next ACONA meeting will be held in January. Gold suggested one of the possible topics to address could be better cell phone service in Altadena. A survey was emailed to attendees after the meeting. Take the survey here to provide your input on future topics.

Trash in Altadena
Thor Schmidt, the General Manager of Athens Services, kicked off the meeting by acknowledging that there was some confusion early on about when specific neighborhoods' pickup days were since the first week of service included Labor Day, which delayed everyone's scheduled pickup by one day.
"We had a little bit of a challenge trying to educate and communicate to all the residents about the changes taking place, but it's starting to normalize," said Schmidt.
He went on to explain that the company doesn't want to collect something just because it's on the curb in case it's something a resident doesn't want taken away.
To get rid of previous service provider's cans or excess trash, green waste, or recyclables, put a note on the cans reading "Take me" and make sure overflow is bundled or bagged. For bulky item pickup, call Athens at 888-336-6100. To report abandoned waste, call the county's franchise hotline for illegal dumping at 800-993-5844 to let them know what and where it is. They will then contact Athens, which will send someone to take pictures of it before and after they remove it.
One of the benefits of having a franchise, said Schmidt, is that Athens is held accountable for the services they are supposed to provide. He also explained that there are environmental benefits to the new Altadena Residential Trash Collection Franchise, such as more waste being recycled and diverted, as well as financial benefits, such as lower rates.
"The rules, processes, and procedures we have in place are there for a reason," he said before moving on to the subject of recycling. "Nowadays the question is almost 'What can't be recycled?' Because in my opinion there are a lot more things you can recycle than you cannot. It's important not to contaminate your green waste containers with trash because the dump will reject them and that waste will not be recycled. Try to recycle as much as you can. It's about preserving our natural resources and doing what's right for the environment. That's what we at Athens are all about."
Paul Alva of the county's Department of Public Works said that both the county and Athens want to make sure the services provided to Altadena are adequate to what the residents need. A member of the audience asked Alva why there are still other service providers' trucks picking up trash in Altadena instead of Athens.
"The residential franchise program that we started on Sept. 1 only addresses services provided through cart collection and there are three given to each household," Alva said. "Now if a resident or business is receiving dumpster service, Athens does not have control over that particular trash collection even though they offer that service. Right now we're going through the process of establishing what we call a non-exclusive franchise program, meaning that we would allow haulers to operate as they currently do but with minimum performance standards. That will be resolved July of next year."
Several audience members complimented Athens, which received applause from the audience, on their responsiveness and professionalism so far.