Most cities maintain an online list of items that can be recycled, but sometimes those lists are hard to find in labyrinthian government websites, and they don't always show up in Google searches. Here are directions on how to find the lists for some major Southern California communities, plus notes giving some idea of how the definition of recyclable can differ from city to city.
Los Angeles:www.lacity.org/san/, click on "Solid Resources Program," then "Recycling," then “What You Can Recycle at the Curb.” Items OK in the blue bin include all plastic with the recycling symbols 1 to 7. Foam cups and packing peanuts too.
Santa Monica:www01.smgov.net/swm/residents/residents.htm, then click on "Waste Reduction Program & Tips," then “What We Can Recycle.” Curbside pickup includes phone books and plastics labeled 1 to 7.
Pasadena: The city offers a list in PDF form. Go to cityofpasadena.net and in the search field type “recycling guide brochure.”
Glendale:www.ci.glendale.ca.us and in search field type “Public Works Guidelines for Automated Collection.” Accepts all cardboard boxes but no juice boxes or milk cartons. Wine bottles are OK; broken glass is not.
Santa Clarita:www.santa-clarita.com and in search field type “Residential Recycling.”
Oxnard: The city details guidelines in a PDF. Go to www.ci.oxnard.ca.us, click on "3 Cart System," then “2009 Three Cart System Brochure.”
Long Beach:www.longbeach-recycles.org, then click on "Recycling."
Huntington Beach (and other communities):www.rainbowdisposal.com and under "Residential" click on "Huntington Beach," then “What goes where?” Accepts plastic bags, pet food tins and coat hangers but not packing peanuts.
Santa Ana (and many other Orange County communities):www.wmorangecounty.com, click on "Cities We Serve," select Santa Ana, then “What to Put in Your Recyclables Cart.”
City recycling guides
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