Sorting It Out

Special to the Times

This summer, sanitation officials hope, all of Los Angeles will discover the convenience of what they call “single stream” recycling. The rest of us would call it tossing all our recyclabes in the same container.

“Other cities have found that participation in recycling went way up when residents are allowed to commingle their materials,” said Mark Miodovski, marketing manager for city of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation. “It’s a little more work for those at the recycling facility, but the technology level at the facilities is improving all the time, so eventually it won’t be all that more difficult to sort it than it is now.”

Miodovski says there has been a 150% increase in recycling on 15 pilot routes throughout Los Angeles.


After a bid to manufacture them is awarded, 90- gallon blue containers will replace the yellow, 14-gallon bins that were the mainstay of the “two stream” program, which required residents to separate paper from plastics and glass. The bureau will distribute the containers to all of the 720,000 households it services in six collection districts. The west San Fernando Valley district is slated to be the first to receive the containers, probably around late June.

Besides increased consumer participation, the program offers other benefits: fewer trucks (they’ll have more capacity because they won’t have to separate recyclables either), fewer stops (since the blue containers won’t fill up as quickly as the yellow bins) and fewer routes.