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Heavy Plastic Bottles to Be Collected for Recycling in 2 Areas

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Los Angeles sanitation officials will launch a pilot program in Woodland Hills and Canoga Park next week experimenting for the first time locally with the collection of high-density plastic bottles for recycling.

The heavy, colored plastic containers, used for items such as lotions and cleaning fluids, previously could not be recycled, as lighter, clear plastic bottles now are in some neighborhoods.

The pilot program will begin next Friday in an area of 4,000 houses where residents already have curbside pickup of recyclable cans, newspapers and glass, said Sue Hayter, a spokeswoman for the recycling division of the city Bureau of Sanitation.

The Canoga Park area is bounded by Roscoe Boulevard, Fallbrook Avenue, Vanowen Street and Topanga Canyon Boulevard.

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The Woodland Hills pickup area is bounded by Hatteras Street, Oxnard Street, Shoup Avenue and Fallbrook Avenue.

The city has been collecting lighter plastics--used for items such as two-liter soda bottles--and selling them for recycling to several different companies in the area.

But colored, high-density plastics--which account for about 50% of all plastic bottles--are recycled by a different process.

Until recently, no facilities in California were equipped to handle them.

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In January, however, a new company called Envirothene opened a plant in Chino capable of grinding up the plastics and converting the residue into pellets.

Michael Kopulsky, who founded Envirothene, said the pellets can be formed into new bottles and bags and durable items, such as cafeteria trays and flower pots.

The Chino plant will be able to initially process 15 million pounds of plastics a year, but company officials plan to expand to 50 million pounds a year, Kopulsky said.

Hayter said that after three months, city sanitation officials will evaluate the pilot program to determine if it should be expanded to the remainder of the 132,000 households in the city now participating in the curbside recycling program.

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