Green Bin Recycling

LA Sanitation & Environment (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 (yard trimmings and food waste), black bins (residual waste) and brown bins (horse manure). LASAN offers bulky items collection to 600,000 multi-family units. 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.

recycLA customers, please check with your recycLA service provider for green waste collection guidelines or call our 24-hour Customer Care Center at 1-800-773-2489 to request a waste characterization.


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.








Mandatory Organics Recycling

As a direct result of this legislation, the Los Angeles City Council instructed the Board of Public Works and LA Sanitation & Environment 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 recycling containers 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.


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 containers for recyclable materials and 90-gallon green containers for yard trimmings and food waste, 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).

green bins Image


LA Sanitation & Environment (LASAN) issues green containers, or bins, for recycling yard trimmings and food scraps. If you are serviced by recycLA, please contact your recycLA service provider or call our 24-hour Customer Care Center at 1-800-773-2489. The following are items that can be placed in the LASAN green bin:


  • Yard trimmings including all organic materials from your yard such as tree and plant trimmings, branches, and flowers.
  • Grass clippings: any variety of grass can be placed in the green bin.
  • Leaves and branches, including all fresh or dried leaves and branches. Thick or thin, fresh or dry, all leaves and branches can be placed in the green bin.
  • Food scraps: fruits, vegetables, dairy, eggshells, bread, cereal, grains, pasta, rice, beans, meat, bones, fish, shells, coffee grounds
  • Food soiled paper products: including pizza boxes and coffee filters
  • Natural wood: including clean untreated wood and wood chopsticks that are not lacquered
  • 100% Natural bamboo: clean, untreated, not coated
  • Natural corks (consider a web search for "cork recycling")



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

  • Painted/coated wood products - wood with more than 25% paint should not be included in the bin
  • Animal waste and pet litter
  • Non-Organic material - including curbside recyclables, refuse, electrical cords, cloth/fabric, appliances, mini blinds, kitchen utensils, lawn furniture, garden hoses, rubber tires and construction materials, including asphalt and concrete
  • Household hazardous waste materials (HHW) - including electronics, syringes, all partially filled aerosol cans and containers for cleaning fluids, automotive fluids, all batteries (including car batteries, household batteries, rechargeable batteries), pesticides, oil based paint, garden chemicals, and pool cleaners.  Household hazardous waste (HHW) materials may be taken to our S.A.F.E. Centers and Mobile Collection Events.
  • Products labeled "biodegradable" or "compostable - Although marketed as "compostable" or "biodegradable", these items do not actually break down in the amount of time the commercial facilities compost the material. Although these bags are "certified" under various certifications such as ASTMD6400 or BPI, the testing conditions for this certification do not actually match what many real commercial composting facilities operate at. This means the products don't fully decompose with the other organics in the compost. This causes issues in the quality of compost when it is sold to agricultural producers. As such, we are advising residents to NOT place "compostable" utensils, bags, or service ware in the green bin with their organics. Although these items have good intentions they should be placed in the trash at this time as they will also cause issues with the recycling of conventional plastics in the blue bin.
Green bin contents are composted, and the compost will be used by farmers to grow organic products. This is why it is so important to avoid contamination.


The term "organic waste" covers a wide variety of items including yard trimmings, manure, food waste, and more. Organic waste makes up a large portion of waste that goes to disposal in landfills. LA Sanitation & Environment (LASAN) has had a program since the 1990's for the separate collection and recycling of yard trimmings and manure, and has been training City residents for the past 20 years on how to manage organic waste in their own backyards through composting workshops.

When organic waste is buried in landfills it can decompose anaerobically (without oxygen) and generate methane gas, a potent greenhouse gas that has negative effects on our environment. Because recycling organic waste helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, LASAN is working on a number of programs to beneficially reuse food waste and compostable materials, thus preventing them from being buried in landfills. These programs include food waste prevention, food rescue of edible food to provide meals to those facing food insecurity, creation of renewable energy from food scraps, and the enrichment of the soil through the creation of compost. Learn more here.



brush collection photoThe City of Los Angeles offers a once-a-year collection for excess yard trimmings (brush) to all households serviced by LASAN, free of charge.

Brush must be bundled and tied together so the length and weight shall not exceed four feet and 30 pounds, respectively.

Please call LA Sanitation & Environment's 24-hour Customer Care Center at 1-800-773-2489 to schedule a collection.



According to CalRecycle’s 2014 Disposal-Facility-Based Characterization of Solid Waste in California, food waste accounts for approximately 21% of the residential waste stream making it the largest portion of residential disposed waste. The United Nations Environment Program states that if global food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Click here to learn more.



Senate Bill (SB) 1383 targets the reduction of methane emissions from landfills. The law establishes targets to achieve a 75% reduction in the level of the statewide disposal of organics waste from the 2014 level by 2025. It also requires that at least 20% of currently disposed edible food be recovered for human consumption statewide by 2025.

As of January 18, 2023, all single family residential properties, multifamily complexes and businesses are required to participate in an organics collection service and must separate into their green organics container ALL of their green waste, food scraps, and food-soiled paper (100% fiber based). Learn more here.