Are You Wondering How Much of Your Trash Gets Recycled?

If you live in Palos Verdes Estates, Redondo Beach, or Hermosa Beach, chances are your trash is processed by Athens Waste Management. I recently attended a briefing by a team from Athens about their goal to separate out recyclable material as much as possible to exceed state requirement for material diversion from landfills. You can watch a video of their state of the art Material Recycling Facility (MRF) here.  The facility uses size, aspect ratio, density, magnetic properties, conductivity, and optical properties of the waste to separate destination streams to optimize re-use.

If you are interested in learning more, let us know.  Athens has offered to either brief other groups or to host a tour of their Sun Valley MRF.


  1. The facility that they’ve mentioned before where they do the waste recovery is in Sun Valley, which is about 1 1/4 hours from the Peninsula Center.

    They’ve offered tours before (even offered a bus!).

  2. I do wonder if this method is actually more effective at recycling glass, paper, plastic, etc.,than having homeowners separate trash from recyclables, as we were formerly supposed to do. Prior to the switch I believe the PVE recycling rate was about 60%. It seems like more education of the residents and possibly and incentive program would have been effective at increasing that percentage, but the city declined to go that route.
    Do you know what the percentage is now? With all the trash being mixed together, one can imagine that, for example, newspapers that would have been easily recycled previously, would now get wet and soiled from food scraps and discarded drinks, rendering them unrecyclable.
    I would have preferred to keep the former system of separating trash, with the city working to improve compliance.

    • Hi, Judy… We posed your question to Athens Services, and here is their response:

        This Athens Services’ recycling facility, also known as a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), was the first and only mixed waste processor in Los Angeles County and is currently one of the highest-diverting mixed waste MRFs in Southern California. This state-of-the-art facility can process 5,000 tons of mixed material each day with virtually no noise or odor impact to the surrounding community with higher diversion than source separated programs. As an example in Palos Verdes Estates the diversion has risen almost 10% since implementing this process. The average diversion percentage before processing averaged 53% now since processing it ranges between 60% to 65%.

        Everything you throw away is transported to the Athens Material Recovery Facility, where we sort out over 33 different recyclable materials and divert away from local landfills. Much more than the typical resident would place in their recycle cart. This waste collection and recycling program is the most environmentally sensitive and efficient program available because it ensures every piece of trash is sorted while it reduces the number of trucks on your streets! This process prevents additional wear and tear on Palos Verdes Estates roads and reduces our carbon footprint by reducing emissions.

        By providing this service to Palos Verdes Estates it ensures 100 percent participation in diverting and recycling waste by each resident in the city. In additional you eliminate contamination of the recyclable materials in the recycle cart which is a consistent issue in every community with source separated programs.

        For over 50 years, Athens Services, a family owned and operated company has grown to represent leadership in recycling and sustainability within the communities they serve in Southern California. As one of the largest recyclers in Los Angeles County, Athens Services and the City of Palos Verdes Estates are committed to helping your community meet its disposal needs and better the environment through improved waste management.

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