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Just tell us what we can and can't recycle — and in plain English

Just tell us what we can and can't recycle — and in plain English
Recycling bins on the UCLA campus. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I have been waiting patiently for the Los Angeles Times go get up to speed on California’s growing recycling issue. Unfortunately, George Skelton’s column on the futility of recycling in this state only makes the poor homeowner more doubtful on how to manage sorting.

Education of the public on blue-bin sorting is sorely lacking. Why not push the agencies and private companies to limit recycling to easy-to-understand refuse, such as clean newspaper, glass and hard plastic bottles without caps, and clean corrugated box material? Why not publish in plain English those few items that we can productively recycle?

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We need to engender more faith on the part of residents that their blue-bin contents will actually be recycled.

William K. Solberg, Los Angeles

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To the editor: I was surprised to read Skelton’s list of nonrecyclable items, such as soiled food boxes and jars that have not been cleaned. My own idea of recycling seems to have been way off the actual practice.

For instance, I do not understand why shredded paper and broken glass cannot be recycled. I was under the impression that recycling glass involved pulverizing old glass to make new containers. Likewise, I assumed paper, shredded or not, could be reduced to a form of pulp and then processed into new sheets.

I think many conscientious people have been trying to correctly recycle but have been laboring under the same wrong assumptions as I have.

Kevin McGill, Chula Vista

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To the editor: Skelton makes clear that the existing approach to recycling is misguided and doomed to failure. The only way to reduce the amount of trash and unacceptable recycled items going to landfills is to drastically reduce the amount of physical stuff being used.

For two simple examples, reading the news online results in less waste than reading and then discarding a newspaper, and emailing this letter to The Times uses less stuff than mailing a letter.

Tom Burton, Van Nuys

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