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Mar 02

The State of Recycling in Ventura

Posted on March 2, 2020 at 3:13 PM by Brandon Kaysen


The national media message indicates that recycling is broken; that collected recyclables are not actually being recycled after collection, or that local recycling facilities are closing.  

Recent changes in the recycling markets have made it difficult for recycling centers to find markets for materials. While this has created significant challenges in the industry, the national media message does not reflect our local reality in Ventura. Despite market fluctuations, we are still recycling in Ventura and we encourage everyone to keep recycling!

We have been able to continue recycling thanks to partnerships with E.J. Harrison & Sons and Gold Coast Recycling. Gold Coast Recycling has made significant investments in their sorting equipment and adapted to market changes in order to maintain recycling services. The City of Ventura has worked closely with E.J. Harrison & Sons and Gold Coast to provide transparency and a unified message to their customers.

In 2017, Gold Coast Recycling added extra labor and additional working shifts in order to slow down the equipment line at the recycling center so additional contaminated materials could be captured and removed from the conveyor belts. This was done to ensure that the finished bales had less than 1% contamination - a requirement for selling to foreign recycling markets. When we mention “contaminated materials” we are referring to items that have leftover food/grease on them or are not recyclable altogether, which is why we are always stressing the importance of keeping your recyclables loose and clean. Items that are contaminated will not be recycled and end up in the landfill. 

Click on the image below to watch a video of the ENTIRE RECYCLING & STORING PROCESS at Gold Coast Recycling & Transfer Station.

In 2018 Gold Coast took precautions to ensure their ability to meet higher standards for the County by upgrading their processing facility.

At the City of Ventura, we are dedicated to provide transparency and up-to-date information about the state of recycling locally. We created the infographic below to help City of Ventura residents understand the differences in markets after items are collected in the recycle bin and sorted at Gold Coast. It’s important to note that only items in the recycle bin are sorted at Gold Coast. Meanwhile, items placed in the trash bin are sent to Gold Coast and transferred to the local landfill unsorted, as it is not financially viable for Gold Coast to sort through regular trash. The graphic and the information provided is current as of February 2020, and will need to be updated periodically.

Reduce Reuse Market-1

Currently, cardboard, glass, metal, mixed paper, and plastics #1 and #2 have viable markets. These items historically represent about 95% to 99% of the recyclable material sent to Gold Coast through residential and commercial collection. 

Plastics #3 - #7 have an unstable market or no market and these items historically represent the remaining 1% to 5% of the recyclable material sent to Gold Coast. Many of the plastics that don't get recycled are single-use packaging, including food packaging and restaurant to-go packaging. It is best to avoid these items, as well as reduce and reuse. 

Our message to residents right now is to KEEP RECYCLING and keep it LOOSE & CLEAN.

Loose and Clean

Through our outreach avenues, we are doing our best to get our message out to the community. Through the Green Schools Program, we offer free K-5 presentations to all schools within the City of Ventura and reach about 7,000 students per year. We also support schools with their recycling and composting programs. 


Green Business Logo - NEW

The Green Business Program assists local businesses to adopt environmentally friendly practices. Currently, we have over 80 Certified Green Businesses within the City of Ventura. 

Additionally, we have several outreach campaigns for residents, where we aim to provide the information and tools that residents need to reduce their waste and recycle materials appropriately. Our outreach includes:

Community Cleanup Events
The Environmental Sustainability Division hosts quarterly Community Cleanup & Recycling events, as a part of the franchise agreement with E.J. Harrison & Sons, in order to help residents properly get rid of hard-to-manage waste.


Social Media Messaging
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Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for event info, recycling messages, and the environmental sustainability messaging for the City of Ventura.

Recycle Coach App
Whether it's remembering to take out the trash or figuring out what you can and can't recycling, Recycle Coach has you covered! Download the app now by clicking on the image below. 

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