Southern California environment news and trends

What you can and can’t recycle in Los Angeles

Did you know that Angelenos are excellent recyclers? A municipal recycling survey back in 2009 ranked Los Angeles as the top recycler in the nation, meaning we have the highest recycling rate out of the ten largest cities in the United States. (San Jose, New York, San Diego and Chicago round out the top five.) The city’s sanitation department shares that it regularly collects 240,000 tons of recyclables and 480,000 tons of yard trimmings. In fact, Los Angeles surpasses its 50% mandated target for landfill diversion. 

So as a city, Los Angeles does well in terms of figuring out the contents of the blue bins. And yet, recycling can still seem like an enigma wrapped in a puzzle wrapped in post-consumer compostable wax paper. We all know that paper, glass, and plastic are bound for the blue recycling bin. But what about pizza boxes and light bulbs? What about broken glass? Can wood be recycled? All these objects deserve a pause over their placement, leaving many of us mystified over their final origin.

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