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Why LA Garbage Haulers Trashed Your Recyclables

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When health authorities ordered Angelenos to stay home to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the result was garbage — a lot of it. Recyclables piled up, too. But much of our carefully separated bottles, cans and paper ended up in local landfills rather than recycled.

The extra residential trash came from people eating and cooking more at home, packaging from free grab-and-go meals and takeout from local restaurants. And all that cardboard from online shopping was filling up our trash and recycling bins.

But just as household garbage and recycling bins were overflowing, a lot of the places that process recyclable bottles, cans and plastics were closing.

Twelve of 29 recyclable sorting plants serving L.A. County Sanitation Districts and one of the two big plants taking L.A. city materials closed for weeks on end.

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