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Sustainability Spotlight: Environmental Services Bureau

Release Date: 2017-03-20

We work hard at the Office of Sustainability to make Long Beach a more sustainable city, but we’re not the only ones making progress. The Sustainability Spotlight series was created to highlight the great efforts towards sustainability across City departments and community organizations. This time, we’re putting the spotlight on Long Beach’s Environmental Services Bureau (ESB) for their efforts to increase recycling and reduce waste in Long Beach.

Long Beach began its curbside recycling program nearly 25 years ago, in 1992. Last year, Long Beach residents recycled over 57.5 million pounds of materials such as plastic bottles, glass jars, cardboard, paper, aluminum, and tin cans. And curbside recycling is just one part of the equation. ESB also diverts trash from landfills through waste reduction, commercial recycling, construction debris recycling, waste-to-energy conversion, organic waste diversion, and composting, among other efforts. As a result, the trash Long Beach residents send to landfills each year has reduced by about 74% since 1989.

You can help to make these numbers even more impressive in years to come. We count on individuals across the City to make smart choices about their purchases, to minimize waste and recycle as much as possible. This starts by knowing exactly what can be recycled and what can’t. Did you know that Long Beach recycles plastics numbered 1 through 7? It’s easy to remember, and covers most plastic containers including yogurt and pudding cups, so don’t throw them away. Empty plastic containers and put them in your purple bin with the caps on (no hazardous chemical containers please). Number 2 plastic even stays local and is used to make more purple recycling bins. One of the most valuable materials that often gets trashed is tin cans. Don’t throw these away, they belong in the purple bin so they can live a new life as bicycle or car parts. No need to bag your recycling, place items directly in the purple bin, and the next time you’re shopping, check the packaging your products come in and choose recyclable materials.

Feeling more ambitious about waste reduction? If you’re looking to do more, try composting. ESB offers a free composting workshop every 3rd Saturday of the month to get you started.

Do you know of sustainable efforts in Long Beach that more people should know about? Email us your nominations for the next Sustainability Spotlight.