Home » Long Beach Recycles » Recycling » For Residents » Recycling Collection FAQs

Recycling Collection FAQs

All recyclables except for motor oil and motor oil filters must be placed inside your purple recycling cart for collection. (Motor oil and motor oil filter collection instruction.) Remember to leave two feet of space between your recycling and trash carts.

Here's a list of the questions we're most frequently asked about the rolling carts. If you can't find what you're looking for here, call the Recycling Hotline at (562) 570-2876.

  • If my cart is not full, should I set it out anyway?

    No. It is not necessary to roll out your cart if you feel you have enough room to get you through the next week.

  • Where should I place my recycling cart for collection?

    You should place your recycling cart at the same location as your trash cart, with approximately two feet of space between it and other objects, including your trash cart.

  • Who collects the recycling?

    The City contracts with Waste Management, Inc. for the collection of recyclable materials. Waste Management takes the recyclables to Potential Industries, a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF, pronounced "merf") in Wilmington, where they are sorted and prepared for the market place.

  • Why do we have to pay for recycling when the City earns money from the sale of the materials?

    Revenue from the sale of recyclable materials is based on participation rates (how many people in the City recycle) and market conditions (current prices for the materials). Revenue varies from month to month, and only offsets a very small portion of the fixed costs of collection.

  • I do my own recycling-why am I charged?

    By Municipal Code, all City serviced accounts are charged for trash/recycling collection service. The cost of the service is evenly distributed, with everyone paying the same amount for recycling. Even if you do your own recycling, the truck comes down your street or alley, and any recycling you set out will be collected. Finally, keep in mind that the City collects many items, such as empty paint cans, aerosol cans and juice packages that are not accepted at recycling dropoff locations

  • I don't recycle-why am I charged?

    By Municipal Code, all City serviced accounts are charged for trash/recycling collection service. The cost of the service is evenly distributed, with everyone paying the same amount for recycling. Even if you do not recycle, the truck comes down your street or alley, and if you decide to recycle, any recycling you set out will be collected. And since you're already paying for the service, you might as well recycle. If you have more than one trash cart, recycling may help you to reduce your trash enough so you can do without the extra trash cart(s), and save yourself some money.

  • What about scavengers?

    The lids and the size and shape of the wheeled carts will discourage scavenging by making it more difficult to get at the materials. If you see someone scavenging through recycling carts, call the Long Beach Police Department at (562) 435-6711 or use our online report form.

  • The recycling cart is too big.

    We have a smaller, 64-gallon cart available for your convenience. If you need a smaller cart, call the Recycling Hotline at (562) 570-2876.

  • I don't want a recycling cart.

    That's fine. Please bear in mind, however, that we no longer collect the small purple bin, so if you choose not to keep the rolling cart you will have no means to have your recyclables collected.

  • Can I get additional carts?

    Yes, additional carts are available. Please call the Recycling Hotline at 570-2876 or request one on our Talk-To-Us page HERE

  • Why are the carts purple?

    The Recycling carts are the same color as the old Recycling bins. The purple recycling cart is widely recognized by Long Beach residents and helps maintain the continuity of our public education efforts. In addition, you'll never mistake it for a trash cart.

  • What is "post consumer content"?

    Post-consumer content is material that has been used and recycled by consumers. Pre-consumer content is manufacturers' scrap material that is re-used in the manufacturing process. Long Beach recycling carts are made with 25% post-consumer recycled plastic. Plastic beverage containers that you put in your cart are processed in Long Beach and could end up as part of a new recycling cart in a few months.

  • What can I put in my recycling cart?

    A list of all materials that can be recycled through the Long Beach residential program is located on the inside of the lid of your cart.

  • Can I place my motor oil or motor oil filter in the container?

    No, motor oil and motor oil filters are collected separately. Please call 1-800-732-9252 to schedule a motor oil or motor oil filter collection, or use our online request form HERE. Place your motor oil and oil filters in the proper container 2 feet to the side of your new recycling cart. Motor oil and oil filters will NOT be collected without scheduling first.

  • Can I put green waste in the purple cart?

    No, green waste is not part of the City's recycling program. All acceptable recyclable materials are listed on the inside of your cart's lid.

  • What should I do with green waste?

    You can put green waste into your refuse cart, or you can compost your green waste at home. Compost bins are sold by the City of Long Beach. You may attend a free Smart Gardening and Composting Workshop the third Saturday of every month to learn how to properly use your compost bin. Call 562-570-2850 to register. For more information about composting and Composting Workshops, learn more HERE. Or, you can dispose of green waste for recycling at Bel-Art Waste Transfer Station, 2501 E. 68th Street. There is a fee for disposal. Call (562) 663-3672.

  • Why is the information in three languages?

    The City wants to ensure the highest possible participation in our recycling program. In order to do that, we print in English, Spanish, and Khmer, so our materials will be accessible to readers of the three largest language groups in the City.

  • What should I do with household hazardous waste (HHW)?

    Household materials that contain toxic chemicals (such as paint, automotive fluids, batteries, pesticides, TVs, computers, cell phones, etc.) should not be placed in your recycling cart, or in your trash. Instead, take them to a Los Angeles County Household Hazardous Waste Roundup Event, or to one of the County's Permanent HHW / E-Waste Collection Centers. Call 562-570-2876 or visit www.longbeach-recycles.org to find out when the next Household Hazardous Waste Roundup is scheduled. For more information about HHW, collection centers and roundup events, learn more HERE