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Blue Bin Recycling

LA Sanitation (LASAN) provides solid resources collection services to 750,000 households, comprised of 530,000 single-family and 220,000 multi-family homes (duplex to four-unit buildings). The four-bin collection system consists of blue bins (recyclables), green bins (tree and yard trimmings), black bins (residual waste) and brown bins (horse manure). Using the calculation methodology adopted by the State of California, the City has achieved a landfill diversion rate of 76.4%. The City recognizes that waste management is a fundamental component of overall environmental sustainability and climate change efforts, and an integral part of the effort to reduce greenhouse gases.

PROGRAM INCEPTION

In 1989, the California State Legislature signed Assembly Bill 939 into law that mandated every local jurisdiction in California to reduce their 1990 baseline waste by 25% by the year 1995, and by 50% by the year 2000.        

Blue Waste Image

As a direct result of this legislation, the Los Angeles City Council instructed the Board of Public Works and LASAN to design and implement a Citywide Curbside Recycling Program.

The program began in 1990 after the completion of a pilot recycling program that was conducted in several areas throughout Los Angeles. Initially, the City distributed 14-gallon yellow and green plastic recycling buckets to every household and collected their contents weekly using a fleet of manual and semi-automatic recycling collection trucks.

 

By 1997, the program was so successful that the 14-gallon bins weren't sufficient for the volume of recyclables generated by each resident and as a result, the City issued 90-gallon blue bins to each household and switched to using fully automated recycling collection vehicles.

As a result of these great programs, the March 2, 2009 edition of Waste & Recycling News identified Los Angeles as having the highest recycling rate out of the 10 largest U.S. cities.

LARGEST CURBSIDE RECYCLING PROGRAM IN THE COUNTRY

The City of Los Angeles currently operates the largest residential curbside recycling program in the United States, collecting a variety of recyclables from over 750,000 households every week.  

Using fully automated collection vehicles in conjunction with 90-gallon blue bins for recyclable materials and 90-gallon green containers for yard trimmings, the City currently collects an average of 800 tons per day of recyclable materials and 1,700 tons per day of green waste from Los Angeles City residents. Participating residents include 530,000 single family homes and 220,000 multi-family units (four units or less).

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RECYCLE THESE ITEMS IN THE BLUE BIN

 

Paper

All clean dry paper, including:

  • Computer paper
  • Ledger paper
  • Arts and craft paper
  • Unwanted mail
  • Flyers
  • Telephone books
  • Note cards
  • Newspaper
  • Magazines
  • File folders
  • Paper bags
  • Post-it notes
  • Catalogs
  • All envelopes, including those with windows

 

Cardboard

All cardboard boxes and chipboard, including:

  • Cereal boxes
  • Tissue boxes
  • Dry food boxes
  • Frozen food boxes
  • Shoe boxes
  • Detergent boxes
  • Paper towel and toilet paper rolls
  • Cardboard boxes (broken down and flattened)

 

Cartons

All refrigerated, shelf-stable, aseptic packaging, including:

  • Fruit juice boxes and cartons
  • Orange juice cartons
  • Milk cartons
  • Wine boxes
  • Soy milk, rice milk and almond milk boxes and cartons
  • Cereal boxes
  • Heavy cream cartons
  • Egg substitute cartons

 

Metals

All aluminum, tin, metal, and bi-metal cans, wiped out if possible, including:

  • Soda cans
  • Juice cans
  • Soup cans
  • Vegetables cans
  • Pet food cans
  • Pie tins
  • Clean aluminum foil
  • Empty paint and aerosol cans
  • Wire hangers

 

Glass

All glass bottles and jars, wiped out if possible, including:

  • Soda bottles
  • Wine bottles
  • Beer bottles
  • Spaghetti sauce jars
  • Pickle jars
  • Broken bottles

 

Plastics

All plastics numbers 1 through 7

Empty plastic containers, wiped out if possible, including:

  • Soda bottles 
  • Juice bottles
  • Detergent containers
  • Bleach containers
  • Shampoo bottles
  • Lotion bottles
  • Mouthwash bottles
  • Dishwashing liquid bottles
  • Milk jugs
  • Tubs for margarine and yogurt
  • Plastic planters
  • Food and blister packaging
  • Rigid clamshell packaging
  • All clean plastic bags (grocery bags, dry cleaner bags, and film plastics)
  • All clean polystyrene products (plates, cups, containers, egg cartons, block packaging, and packing materials)
  • Plastic hangers
  • Non-electric plastic toys
  • Plastic swimming pools
  • Plastic laundry baskets
  • Car seats (cloth removed)

 

DO NOT RECYCLE THESE ITEMS IN THE BLUE BIN

 

If these items are placed in the blue container, there's a likelihood of contaminating the other clean materials. Please ensure that the items placed in the blue container are clean and free from contaminants.

 

Contaminated Paper: 

  • Heavily soiled papers or bags with oils or food waste should be placed inside the black bin.

 

Glass (the following items should be placed inside the black bin): 

  • Window glass
  • Mirror glass
  • Auto glass
  • Standard light bulbs
  • Crystal
  • Ceramics 

 

Miscellaneous Materials: 

  • Cloth/fabric
  • Mini blinds
  • Kitchen utensils
  • Lawn furniture
  • Garden hoses
  • Rubber tires
  • Construction materials, including asphalt or concrete, wood and wood products

These materials may have special handling requirements so please contact the LASAN Customer Care Center at 1-800-773-2489 for information on how to dispose of such items.

 

Electronic Waste: 

  • All electronic devices
  • Electrical cords and wiring
  • Electric or battery operated toys
  • Appliances
  • Compact fluorescent and LED light bulbs
  • All batteries (including car batteries, household batteries, and rechargeable batteries)

E-waste is accepted at the curbside by special appointment (contact our Call Center) or by drop-off at S.A.F.E. Centers and Mobile Collection Events.

 

Hazardous Materials: 

  • Syringes and needles
  • Medical waste
  • Drugs (pills, liquids, gel caps, vials, and injectables)
  • All partially filled aerosol cans and containers for cleaning fluids, automotive fluids, pesticides, oil based paint, garden chemicals, and pool cleaners

Household hazardous waste (HHW) can be taken to our S.A.F.E. Centers and Mobile Collection Events.

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