Los Angeles recycling hits new participation highs

LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Council President Eric Garcetti demonstrate LA's wide-ranging capacity to recycle lots of different substances. The mayor says he wants a 70% recycling rate within 4 years.
LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Council President Eric Garcetti demonstrate LA's wide-ranging capacity to recycle lots of different substances. The mayor says he wants a 70% recycling rate within 4 years. Molly Peterson/KPCC

Three-quarters of the apartment buildings in Los Angeles now take part in the city's recycling program.

For years, high rates of single-family homes in Los Angeles have adopted the recycling habit. Los Angeles can’t offer numbers about how many apartment dwellers separate their trash. One reason is that recycling trucks in the city didn't serve multi-family residences until two years ago.

City council president Eric Garcetti says that adding apartments to recycling routes has diverted more waste from landfills. "We launched a program to provide free recycling by the city," Garcetti says. "It makes sense for the city because we save some money and we can make some money on the recycling. So two and a half years later 77 percent of apartments have voluntarily taken in the city's recycling program. Which is awesome."

Sixty-five percent of Los Angeles recycles 720,000 tons of paper, metal, plastic, Styrofoam, glass, bulk and organic materials a year. A trade-industry survey says that makes L.A. the number one big city recycler this year. Two other California cities, San Jose and San Diego, also made its top 10 list.

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