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Los Angeles adds food, beverage cartons to curbside recycling

June 14, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Curbside recycling in the city of Los Angeles is expanding to include food and beverage cartons, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced Tuesday.

The new program by the city is in partnership with the Chicago-based non-profit Carton Counsil. It has already been adopted in 39 other states.

The new rules would allow residents to recycle milk and juice cartons, as well as soup, soy milk and box wine containers.

The mayor said the expansion of the recycling program will come at no extra cost to taxpayers.

"Los Angeles continues to be a national leader and environmental steward," Villaraigosa said. "The partnership with the Carton Council ensures that liquid food and beverage cartons are not left to the landfills, but are recycled in the most responsible and efficient way possible."

The Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation began to explore the possibility of carton recycling in 2007 and implemented a small pilot program.

Angelinos have already proven they embrace recycling, diverting 65 percent of waste from landfills. The city's goal is 70 percent by 2013.

The mayor credits a multi-housing recycling program established in 2005 for much of the success. There are now nearly half a million multi-family homes participating in the program, which is the largest of its kinds in North America.

Restaurants and schools have also contributed, but public awareness campaigns still exist to reach those who still haven't gotten the message.

"We just have too much waste on our hands," said Los Angeles resident Erin Manacker, who recycles. "We're huge consumers, and if we are huge consumers, then it's our responsibility to go ahead and recycle what we consume."

City News Service contributed to this report.

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