Everyday each person produces about 4.4 pounds of garbage. All of our trash is then buried in a landfill where it will remain unchanged for thousands of years. We can’t keep burying trash forever. It’s time to start becoming more aware of how much trash we create and start adopting sustainable recycling habits.

Recycling doesn’t just save natural resources, it also saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Plus it’s great for our economy. Recycling just one aluminum can saves enough energy to power a laptop for three hours- so yes, we can make a difference!

Every city is a little different, so the most important thing to do is check with your local recycling company to find out what can and cannot be recycled.

Here are some commonly accepted items in Los Angeles:

  1. Aluminum cans- (The most recycled item in the US! It can be recycled over and over again, and so efficiently that a can can be regenerated and back on shelves in 60 days!)

  2. Metals- (Steel cans, wire hangers, clean aluminum foil, etc.)

  3. Newspaper and magazines (see #GoWilde Week 7 Challenge!)

  4. Cardboard

  5. Paper and Paperboard- (cereal boxes, non-styrofoam egg cartons, clean dry paper, shoe boxes, unwanted mail, etc.)

  6. Glass- all glass jars and containers

  7. Plastics- Los Angeles recycling accepts all types of plastic, including plastic grocery bags and styrofoam. Many recycling programs only accept plastic #1 and #2, so it’s best to check with your local recycling program!

Los Angeles recycling does NOT recycle things such as contaminated paper soiled with oils or food waste, broken glass, hazardous materials like electronics, syringes and batteries, or miscellaneous items such as electrical cords, mini blinds, kitchen utensils, lawn furniture or rubber tires.

So take a couple minutes out of your day to research your city’s local recycling rules, and set up a system in your home to start recycling! Knowing what can and cannot be recycled can start influencing items you buy at grocery stores as well!