Can I Recycle ... milk cartons?


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Los Angeles’ recycling system is made up of six sellable commodities: paper, cardboard, glass, metal, plastic and expanded polystyrene, each of which can be recycled by itself. But items made of mixed materials can be problematic and generally cannot be recycled in L.A. city residents’ blue bins.

Take the coated heavy paper drink cartons that contain milk or juice sold in grocers’ refrigerated sections. Although the gabled cartons are primarily made of paper, they are also coated — most often with plastic, occasionally in wax.


Coated paper drink cartons are not recyclable in the city of L.A. because they are a mixed commodity and more difficult for the city’s recycling facilities to sell. They are, however, part of a pilot program along with Tetra Pak for possible inclusion in the blue bin program because ‘the landscape of new consumer products as well as new markets for what is recyclable is dynamic and ever changing,’ said Jimmy Tokeshi, public information officer for the city’s Department of Public Works.

Because policies and recommendations can vary from city to city, each week we ask a sampling of officials from different municipalities to weigh in. Can you recycle coated paper drink cartons in ...

Glendale? No

Long Beach? Yes (purple bin)

Santa Monica? Yes (blue bin)

Torrance? Yes (gray bin)

-- Susan Carpenter

‘Can I Recycle ...?’ appears on this blog every Thursday. Bookmark L.A. at Home and follow the series.


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