You’re standing on a Los Angeles street, turning in a circle, looking for a public trash can to toss your empty coffee cup. Keep hunting, because the city maintains only about 1,000 cans on its city streets.
Mayor Eric Garcetti wants to add 5,000 more bins to the city inventory over the next four years, he said in his State of the City speech Tuesday.
It’s part of his administration’s new Clean Streets Initiative. In one of the few laugh lines in his speech, he nicknamed it CSI Los Angeles, like the TV cop show. One might need a detective to figure out why the supply of city-owned trash cans is so low, especially compared to New York’s 25,000 cans, or Washington D.C.’s 4,800.
Los Angeles’ 6,500 miles of streets once had some 6,000 city-maintained trash cans, said Mark Thomas, a private industry executive who researched the city’s cleanliness during his ongoing fellowship in the City Administrative Office.
Over time, as the city cut back on purchases and services during the recession, the number of trash cans fell. When the Bureau of Sanitation inventoried street cans after taking over collection duties from the Bureau of Street Services, the number went down to 700, Thomas said.