Note: This article first appeared on Crosstown and is shared with their permission in partnership with Los Angeleno. You can subscribe to Crosstown for crime, traffic and air quality news here.
Stuck at home during COVID-19, residents are tossing out a record amount of trash.
In 2019, the City of Los Angeles broke a record for requests to respond to illegal dumping, with more than 123,000 calls to haul away mattresses, shopping carts, couches and other items abandoned on streets and sidewalks.
This year, with millions of Angelenos spending more time indoors and finally getting the chance to clean out those cluttered closets and basements, the city is on pace to surpass that figure, and some local garbage hauling is increasing by more than 85%.
According to a Crosstown analysis of My LA 311 data, there were 71,973 service calls for illegal dumping in the first seven months of the year, a nearly 7% jump from the same period last year.
The situation has been worsening since 2015 when there were 19,592 calls to pick up trash across the city. Last year, there were 123,490 calls, an increase of 530% over five years. If the 2020 pace holds, Los Angeles would surpass last year’s overall numbers by 16.5%.
Sanitation bureau representatives say the increased dumping comes from a number of factors. In the COVID-19 era, some people may be reluctant to bring old or bulky items to places where they can be donated, and instead, just drop them on the sidewalk. Other times, people may be complaining about items on the street that appear to them to be trash, but belong to people experiencing homelessness.