Wednesday, November 29, 2023


Los Angeles will recycle impounded RVs

How many RVs does Los Angeles impound when they’re declared abandoned? Your guess is a good one, surely. But right now there are 97 of them taking up a lot of space in police garages. What to do? Los Angeles will recycle impounded RVs—paying a big price in the process.

$250,000 contract

LA’s Police Commission has signed off on a $250,000 contract with an area recycler to take 97 impounds off the city’s hands. SA Recycling says it can handle as many as 15 derelict RVs per day. In addition to the 97 already impounded, the contract covers any others that might show up in the next two years.

When COVID-19 engulfed the city, a moratorium went into effect. It prevented the city from impounding unoccupied vehicles. The thought was that those without homes would have some place to stay, and reduce the transmission of the nasty virus. But since COVID has relaxed its grip, the no-tow moratorium was removed in April 2022. Since then the tows have come on strong, and the impound yards have bulged at the seams.

Just selling or salvaging an abandoned RV—or any other vehicle—isn’t an easy trick. Just getting a tow company to respond to an abandoned RV call is an iffy process. Before a sale or salvage can take place, the tow company has to store the unit, and give the registered owner an opportunity to redeem it. If nobody tries to bail the rig out, and no one else responds to a sale, salvage is the next step.

Los Angeles will recycle impounded RVs—but hoops to jump through

California environmental laws make taking on responsibility for a dead RV a heavy task. Most tow companies aren’t in a position to do the salvage themselves. Recyclers are wary—there’s so much “stuff” considered to be environmentally sensitive. Richard Tefank, the police commission’s executive director, said that stuff can include “gasoline, oil, antifreeze, wastewater, freon, and propane.” And, of course, holding tanks full of human waste aren’t particularly a welcome substance for recycle plant workers to deal with.

Tefank said that SA Recycling was the only recycling company that could legally handle LA’s burgeoning load of abandoned RVs within or near city limits. The commission voted November 14 to allow the contract, but it still needs approval of the LA mayor. Los Angeles will recycle impounded RVs, maybe. But where will the $250,000 to pay for the contract come from? Funding for the recycling program will come from the mayor’s Inside Safe homeless housing initiative.


Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.



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Cancelproof (@guest_262616)
4 days ago

The scrapper will do it at 15 per day for $2,500.00 each? Where do I sign up? I’ll do it for $2,400.00 per unit and take 20 per day.

Any other bidders out there?

Jesse Crouse (@guest_262530)
4 days ago

Don’t care for how most of Cal. does things, but seems correct that a homeless program is funding the solution. Only issue that the money is being used to clean up after the homeless instead of keeping them from becoming, being or removing them from the homeless community.

Thomas D (@guest_262176)
8 days ago

Only the government would pay. For what you or I would get PAID for.
The frame has value. The siding, probably aluminum has value, of course material like roofing and carpeting costs to junk but so does seats, flooring in a car, glass etc.
Some companies are salvage yards some are junk yards. My son in law got a NEW ( all the shelves etc were still in factory wrapping) Norcold refrigerator and a like new bath vent.$100. So there is money in salvage

Jesse Crouse (@guest_262531)
4 days ago
Reply to  Thomas D

From a Plumber. I recycle copper, brass and other plumbing materials and get money.

Neal Davis (@guest_262151)
8 days ago

Thank you, Russ and Tina! Well, seems a bit amusing for LA to be encumbered by California’s environmental legislation. I guess they are well-matched. 😉

Chris (@guest_262148)
9 days ago

I cannot use the language I have to describe los Angeles and California except for saying I hope the rest of the country does follow them.

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