Ever wonder if you’re making the environment worse by throwing a used plastic food container from KFC that’s still kind of greasy into the blue bin? Well, according to Karen Coca with the L.A. Bureau of Sanitation, it’s OK to do that.
“The cleanliness of what needs to be in the blue bin always confuses people. You need to rinse it or wipe the food out. It does not need to be clean like you’re going to eat from it again.”
Coca says the City has expanded its definition of what is recyclable to take in more materials.
“If you make a mistake on the side of, well, it looks like plastic and it looks pretty clean, I’m putting it in my blue bin, we feel the same way. We want to make it less confusing for the customer so you don’t have to look at the number on the bottom or try to figure out what it’s made of. If it’s clean and you think it can go in the blue bin, then we think it’s good.”
Coca says the sorting process has become very efficient.
“Now we have these really cool pieces of equipment called optical sorters that actually can look at a piece of plastic, know what it’s made out of, and a little shot of air blows it to the side.”
She says the recycled material is sold, the but the money made is not enough to cover the entire cost of running the recycling program. About 50 percent of what residents throw away gets recycled.
Coca was a guest on McIntyre in the Morning.
By Sandy Wells