recycLA Star Award Recipients

recycLA is an exciting public-private partnership that offers customer-friendly and efficient waste and recycling services to all commercial and industrial businesses, institutions, and large multifamily buildings. This innovative program is part of the City’s commitment to enhance the quality of life in Los Angeles by improving the air that we breathe, the roads that we travel and the overall cleanliness of Los Angeles. recycLA extends recycling opportunities to everyone in the City, and ensures stronger customer service, predictable and protected rates, much needed infrastructure and equipment improvements. It moves us closer to achieving “zero waste” through pioneering waste reduction, reuse, recycling, and recovery programs.

See below for past recycLA Star honorees.


In 2001, Amoeba Music opened its third location on Sunset Boulevard in downtown Hollywood. Occupying an entire city block, Amoeba is the world’s largest independent music store. Amoeba Music’s staff, customers and performing artists comprise a unique musical community and an incubator for positive energy.

Amoeba Music entered the recycLA program in November of 2017. Athens Services, their recycLA Service Provider, conducted a zero-waste assessment and suggested recommendations to improve their diversion rate which at the time was 61.5%. Today, Amoeba Music diverts an impressive 75% of their waste from landfills!

Sustainability is a core principle that the owners highly value. Reuse, re-purpose and recycle are used in every department including:

• Amoeba Music currently has three blue bins and one black bin, which are serviced five times a week.
• Recycling bins, labeled with recycLA signage along with handmade signs, are found throughout the 25,000 sq. ft. facility. Only a few trash bins are present. Amoeba is vigilant in making sure there is no contamination.
• Amoeba encourages customers to bring their own bags and offers high quality totes for purchase.
• Amoeba reuses paper, plastic bags, bubble wrap and cardboard boxes for shipping. They use right size boxes for LPs, CDs, and DVDs.
• Amoeba has employees whose sole purpose is to separate the materials in CD and DVD cases so they can be properly recycled.
• Amoeba goes so far as to re-purpose material and construct it into something new with a part-time, onsite carpenter. One example, they re-purposed an old table into shelves for use in the store.
• Amoeba has an entire room dedicated as an electronic waste collection area. They also accept lightbulbs so all are disposed of responsibly.
• Amoeba filters their tap water so employees can fill reusable water bottles.

Amoeba Music not only serves their local community, but also national and international causes. It raises money for charities through auctions, on-site customer donations, matching contributions, and special events.
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GUESS was established in Los Angeles in 1981 by the Marciano brothers. When Guess joined the City of Los Angeles’ recycLA program in May of 2018, the majority of their recycling was done in their warehouse and mailroom. They had a diversion rate of 18%.

Today, Guess diverts 60% of their waste from landfills.

Calmet Services, Guess’s recycLA Service Provider, nominated Guess because of their overwhelming eagerness and adaptation to the recycLA program. A few components of the new program include:
Replacing employees’ personal trash cans with recycling bins
Trash bins were centrally placed motiving employees to take extra steps to throw away trash
Incentives were put in place in the cafeteria where employees who used reusable dishes were given points which could be turned in for treats
Employees who brought their own reusable cups were given discounts on drinks
Guess is currently working with Calmet’s Zero Waste experts to add “organics” to their recycling program.
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Antigua Bread opened in Highland Park in 2007. Universal Waste Systems, Antigua Bread’s recycLA Service Provider (RSP), nominated them not only for their recycling efforts, but also for the ways they prevent waste. Universal Waste praised Miguel Hernandez, one of the owners of Antigua Bread, as a “champion of waste reduction”

Antigua Bread diverts 50% of their waste from landfills. Antigua Bread succeeds in recycling and reducing waste by:
promoting reusable utensils
bundling recyclables in clear bags to make sure they are placed in the correct bins
Collecting coffee grounds (source reduction) for use in gardening and composting
In addition to waste reduction, Antigua Bread invented an innovated way to reuse waste water. They engineered a system to collect the condensation from their air conditioner to water a small green space they created in their parking lot. It also fills the birdbath.
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LA Live

L.A. LIVE is a large entertainment venue that debuted in Downtown Los Angeles in 2007. LA Live currently diverts 55% of its waste from landfills and continues to work with NASA to review bins and weights to improve their diversion rate by the end of 2019. In 2018, LA Live diverted 182 tons of cardboard and 65 tons of grease waste.

A few examples of LA Live’s other components which are instrumental in their success:
Green, blue and black stripes have been painted on the floors leading the way to the correct bins for organics, recycling and garbage to avoid any confusion.
Recycling signage is prominently featured behind the scenes, including the break room, hallways, elevator lobby, etc.
Special tanks were installed under the loading dock area for grease collection. They have an outside recycling vendor who collects the grease and recycles it in numerous ways, including making soap.
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Room and Board

Room and Board is a large national furniture company of showrooms and delivery centers. Their delivery center in the City of Los Angeles, which is being recognized today, has been in Los Angeles since 2009. They are a very progressive, sustainability focused operation. Their corporate office in Minnesota is a founding member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council.

Room and Board sets an excellent example to other businesses on how to successfully recycle, diverting 82% of their waste from landfills. In 2018, this included: 137 tons of cardboard, 9 tons of low-density polyethylene packaging and 4 tons of plastic.
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Preux and Proper

Preux & Proper opened in downtown Los Angeles in 2014. The original owner, Joshua Kopel, was later joined by Chef Sammy Mansour as Co-Partner. Preux & Proper was fully vested in the recycLA program in March of 2018. Chef Sammy led his team to become one of the most sustainable kitchens in Los Angeles, with help from NASA’s zero waste team. Their diversion rate went from 0% to 45% in just over a year.
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Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club was founded in Los Angeles in 2011 and has grown into a global business that delivers razors and other grooming products direct-to-consumer’s doors. The Dollar Shave Club’s corporate headquarters sets an excellent example to other businesses on how to successfully divert recycling, and organics, diverting a full 64% of waste from landfills. Under the recycLA program and Athens Services’ zero waste partnership, the Dollar Shave Club’s recycling programs have become more targeted and effective.
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Le Lycée Francais de Los Angeles

Le Lycée Francais de Los Angeles is a shining example to other schools on successfully diverting both recycling and organics away from the landfill. Le Lycée Francais de Los Angeles is also certified by the French government as an “Eco-Ecole” (Eco-School).

In May 2018, they began the Zero Waste School Pilot program and completed the program in December 2018. Le Lycée Francais de Los Angeles has achieved an outstanding diversion rate of 77%.

Through the recycLA program, they have increased their recycling from a 3 cubic yard recycle bin to a 4 cubic yard recycle bin by increasing their recycling education at their site, and by implementing an organics bin.

They have implemented a 3 can system for solid waste, recycling and organics throughout the school, allowing everyone to be actively involved in recycLA. Signage illustrating proper waste disposal methods has been put into effect throughout the whole school and theatre, improving accessibility for all students, staff, and visitors.

The school also features a garden and onsite worm composting to educate students on vermicomposting (the use of earthworms to convert organic waste into fertilizer).
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Cathedral Chapel School

Cathedral Chapel School is an excellent example to other schools on successfully diverting both recycling and organics away from the landfill. The school began the Zero Waste School Pilot program in May 2018, and completed the program February 2019. Cathedral Chapel School is now at a 63% diversion rate

The school is educating students through the recycling program on how to sort waste into three separate bins. Students created color coded signage for each bin as part of this education effort. In each classroom, there are blue and black bins for recycling and trash. There are also recycling bins on the playground during lunch. At lunch, the food vendor uses compostable trays and “cellophane” wrap made from sweet potatoes.
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La Mascota Bakery

The City of Los Angeles and LA Sanitation and Environment (LASAN) will be honoring La Mascota Bakery as a recycLA “Star.”

The bakery, opened in 1952, will be awarded the recycLA “Gold Star” as part of a program that awards local businesses who demonstrate an exceptional commitment to reducing the environmental impact of their operations by making the investments and behavioral changes to achieve the highest levels of recycling.

To educate and promote the importance of recycling amongst customers and staff, bakery owners added blue bins in the seating area and at various locations throughout work-space. recycLA flyers were also posted throughout the bakery to promote awareness and education about recycling, and the educational materials and encouragement from recycLA allowed the bakery owners to retrain employees to prioritize proper recycling.

La Mascota Bakery's recycling efforts are truly a team effort and would not have been possible without the conscientiousness of owners, management, employees and customers. The bakery recycles primarily cardboard, paper and glass.

In addition to its exemplary recycling program, La Mascota also contributes to the local community by donating baked goods to local churches and senior centers.

La Mascota Bakery has a 33% waste diversion and donates a remarkable 200 to 300 lbs of baked goods per week!
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Spoonfed has made a conscious effort to make the switch from harmful single-use items to more sustainable, reusable options. Spoonfed also works to reduce food waste by making sure that any excess food is allocated for "family meals." There is also regular training for staff on recycling.
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The Wiltern

Since the recycLA program started, the Wiltern has actively worked to improve their sustainability efforts. From one 4 yard recycle bin twice a week, they have increased their recycling to two 4 yard recycle bins serviced daily. The Wiltern Center made a commitment towards eliminating straws from their concert venue and have also sought after more sustainable ware for their food and drink options.
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World Harvest Social Super Market

World Harvest has served the Los Angeles community for more than 10 years. Through recycLA, they have been able to partner with waste haulers and enroll in a composting and recycling program. Now, spoiled surplus is diverted in a sustainable manner, leading to more than 30 tons per month of composted material.

Because of their efforts, World Harvest is now over 90% zero-waste. The supermarket has:
  • Diversified more than 74 tons of food that would have ended up in the landfills.
  • Recovered food that would have been landfilled and distributed that food to people.
  • Shared the resources that weren’t consumed by people with other city facilities, including the Los Angeles Zoo, which has saved the zoo an average of $16,000 per month.
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Mendocino Farms

The Mendocino Farms’ Food Production Facility in Downtown Los Angeles serves all 25 of their restaurants statewide. Since enrolling in the recycLA program, Mendocino Farms has doubled its recycling service; it now diverts 69 percent of waste from landfills through their organic waste recycling program.

Production facilities typically prioritize efficiency and throw all waste streams into one bin, but Mendocino Farms has created a new system for their material waste streams to be sorted inside the facility. Mendocino Farms took the following actions:
  • Purchased green recycling disposal containers for inside the food production facility.
  • Trained their workforce on the proper way to sort the materials as they produced their products, helping to reduce contamination.
  • Dramatically reduced the amount of waste they deposit in disposal containers by operating a robust waste prevention program that is focused on moving away from single-use containers and procuring bulk ingredients.
WH recycla star

Downtown LA Auto Group

Downtown LA Auto Group’s various locations, including dealerships and massive auto-service, had been producing 141 cubic yards of waste per week before it began participating in the recycLA program. An initial waste assessment at recycLA’s outset determined that most of the materials being sent to landfill could be recycled. Since that time, Downtown LA Auto Group has realized full utilization in the recycLA program, reducing their trash capacity by 60 percent and diverting 73 percent of their waste from landfill.

Downtown LA Auto Group and Ware partnered to provide comprehensive, dual-language training for their large staff and ensure on-site recycling practices are being performed to standards. Zero-Waste specialists met with managers and visited each service area to train service managers about the recycLA program, recyclable materials, and bin placement. Downtown LA Auto Group and Ware created a special Auto-Service focused Recycling training plan, in both Spanish and English, and trained the staff of 300 employees at all six service area sites to make them aware of the transition and train them in correct practices. This training was implemented in combination with 96-gallon recycle carts being placed in the service areas that could be easily accessed by employees, as well as larger recycling bins in central collection areas to help effectively capture the recyclable materials.
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Eco-Village Housing Complex

The property manager has posted additional recycling signage on all of their bins including containers that are placed in communal areas. The management regularly reminds tenants to recycle and provides recycling educational materials in communal areas. In addition, the building has vegetable gardens around the property where tenants can grow their own produce.

Tenants have the option to compost on site since they have a backyard composting setup, which helps them reduce the amount of trash they throw away in the trash bin. Tenants are encouraged to compost their kitchen scraps or any other compostable items.

The management teams continuously educates tenants to recycle and offers educational materials to support their effort. For the backyard-composting site, there are clear instructions displayed to educate the tenants the proper ways of disposing their food waste into the compost bin. The manager has also set up a meeting to discuss ways in which their tenants can reduce the amount of trash their generating.
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Love Catering

This business was nominated as a recycLA star because of their dedication to environmental stewardship. Recognized under the City’s Green Business Certification Program as the first catering company to be certified, Love Catering makes every effort to reduce, reuse, and recycle. The caterer also offers their customers “reusable service ware” to assist their client’s with zero-waste events.

RecycLA’s impact: Previous to recycLA, Love Catering never had access to composting services. Their previous hauler did not offer the services, leaving them with no solution to divert it from landfills, in addition to an inflexible trash contract. Under recycLA, Love Catering was finally able to enroll in organic waste recycling services through Republic Services, allowing them to be fully compliant with CA state mandates requiring organics diversion from landfills.

Republic’s impact: Republic worked closely with Love Catering to create a program tailored to the business’s limited space and needs.
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Meet Each Need with Dignity (M.E.N.D.)

MEND is an anchor institution with the largest food bank in the Valley, medical, dental and vision clinics, clothing, homeless care services, as well as support and care through case management services. MEND was nominated for a recycLA star award for their dedication in improving their waste reduction, recycling and composting programs in partnership with Republic Services. Their programs also include food recovery of surplus food and goods in the Valley, and a local composting program at Cottonwood Urban Farms. Cottonwood collects one ton of food scraps per month (for free), and uses the feedstock for the community garden in Panorama City.

RecycLA’s impact: recycLA provided MEND with access to needed services they did not have previously. MEND now has more opportunities to expand food rescue with the Republic partnership, and fully divert food waste from the recovery efforts.

Republic’s impact: Republic provided MEND with sponsored composting containers: four outdoor 2-cubic yard containers, twelve 10-gallon green containers, and six 23 – gallon recycle containers for the volunteer sorting lines, funded through the recycLA food recovery and reuse program. In addition to improving the locations sorting and maximizing the diversion, Republic also partners with MEND for food rescue in the NEV area.