Make sure all recyclables are empty, clean and dry.
That’s just one of the rules for recycling the city of Long Beach urges the community to follow when disposing of recyclable materials.
But how clean should recyclables be? And do folks have to separate parts of items when recycling or tossing in the trash?
“People forget, or just don’t know, that not every part of an item is recyclable,” Diko Melkonian, deputy director for the city’s Public Works Department, said. “If something recyclable (like a jar) is thrown away with food in it, we can’t use that jar. It gets thrown in the trash, where it sits in a landfill.”
The Public Works Department has made its recycling guidelines available online at longbeach.gov/lbrecycles. They also offer monthly workshops to better understand recycling, as well as reducing home waste and composting.
“We welcome people who want to learn more about our programming, or want to take advantage of the workshops we offer,” Melkonian said.
The next workshop —called “Reduce Waste at Home: Kitchen Edition”— is happening from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 28, online. People can register for free, and view other scheduled workshops, at Gazettes.com/go/workshops.
Last September, Long Beach announced that some materials are no longer recyclable, largely because the demand for that material is no longer there according to an evaluation by the Public Works Department, along with its recycling partners, Potential Industries and Waste Management.
When items are recycled or thrown away, that waste has to be kept somewhere, and China has been the world’s largest importer of waste for decades. In 2017, China implemented a “National Sword” policy, which means that the country is limiting what waste can be imported.
That leaves Long Beach with more recyclables on hand, and it’s up to residents to help limit the amount of waste they create.
“The demand for some previously recyclable materials has dramatically decreased,” Melkonian said in a release last year. “Continued collection of materials no longer eligible for recycling within the global marketplace may lead to contamination of recyclables still in demand. These changes will help Long Beach residents ensure that materials put in recycling containers can actually be recycled and reused.”
Acceptable recyclables include paper items (including magazines, newspapers and catalogs), aluminum, tin, empty meat and soda cans, glass bottles and jars, Polyethylene Terephthlate (PETE1), including plastic soda bottles, plastic juice bottles and plastic water bottles. Also acceptable are High Density Polyethylene (HDPE 2) like milk jugs, laundry detergent containers and Polyproplylene (PP5), like yogurt and margarine tubs and plastic bottle tops.
The city provides purple recycling bins to residents of single-family homes, apartment buildings and businesses. Each week, recycle trucks collect those recyclables on the same day as a neighborhood’s scheduled trash day.
All recyclables must be clean and dry once placed into recycle bins. Additionally, plastic bags, food and yard waste, trash or hazardous waste should not be recycled.
Bins must be out by 7 a.m. to guarantee pickup and must be moved inside by 7 p.m. on that same day. For more information, go to longbeach.gov/lbrecycles.
For questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 562-570-2850.