Big & Blue: A review of East L.A.’s new super-sized recycling cart

The super-sized blue bin (left) compared to the smaller model | C.J. Salgado

The super-sized blue bin (left) compared to the smaller model | C.J. Salgado


EAST LOS ANGELES  –Sometimes size really does matter, at least when it comes to disposing of trash from our homes. Republic Services, which provides waste disposal for unincorporated East Los Angeles, began to offer noticeably larger blue recycle carts at no additional charge as part of a service enhancements that were promoted last summer. Sound good?

I thought so and called in my order after resolving to recycle more. So, I waited after placing my order. And waited. And waited some more. Finally, it was delivered after about two months. Seems the bigger bins were not in stock right away. The good news is that currently the turnaround is quicker to get the new Biggie Blue.

You might think “Who cares?’”  about a bigger recycling cart. Well, first, to put it into perspective, consider that the “old” East L.A recycle bin held a paltry 64 gallons while the new Biggie Blue tops out at 96-gallons.  The new blue cart matches the size of the existing black cart for household thrash. This last holiday season with all its boxes, wrapping paper, bottles, etc., it sure came in handy.

Things aren’t all rosy, though. One big downer, at least in my mind, is that the new blue cart has plastic hollow tires. The old blue cart has solid rubber tires, which were quieter when being rolled back and forth to the curb. They also seemed to take the load better without deforming as easily.

In addition, one pet peeve about using these larger carts is that scavengers sometimes rummage through them in the wee hours of the night, collecting the recyclable materials before the disposal company can pick them up. It’s not so much that they do that, it’s that some irresponsible ones can leave behind a mess when they dump stuff onto the street or move the cart from where it should be. Is it even worth trying to collect more in the bigger blue carts  only to have more goodies to attract scavengers? I suppose it all eventually gets recycled, so I reasoned.

Apparently, however, others might not have agreed with me on the bigger-is-better thing. During a recent informal survey in East L.A., I observed hardly any of the bigger carts for recyclables.

Interested? I wouldn’t mind some company in sticking to my recycling resolution. East L.A. residents can call Republic Services at 800-299-4898 to super size their big blue.


  1. the article says the company is Republic Services, but the container says it’s from Consolidated Disposal Services. Maybe they’re the same company, or is this correct? I know, who cares, but if you’re calling the wrong company, it may take a long time to get your request. Thanks for reading this.

  2. Agree with you on the scavengers. I guess I don’t really care if they go through it, but they tend to be messy and loud. I end up with broken glass all over the street where I have to drive and walk my dog. And technically the money from the recycling is supposed to go to the City or County when I put it in that can, so others digging through it are stealing. I wish these cans had locks. It’s not that I want to prevent someone else from making an income, but the bad ones ruin it for the rest.

  3. Tony – Consolidated and Republic are the same company (also called Allied), via series of mergers over the years. Hope that helps!

  4. What they really need in East LA is ginormous recycling bins for all the discarded sofas, mattresses, toilets, shelving units, dressers, refrigerators, ovens and big wheels.

  5. I hope that small blue bins will still be available. The smaller bin is easier to drag up and down the steep hill I live on. These huge bins were designed for a nice flat suburb, not the narrow, winding hilly streets of Echo Park.

  6. Too bad your article didn’t did a bit deeper into the scavenger aspect since it is a serious and detrimental side effect from municipal recycling programs. Those that remove CRV from household bins are stealing per municipal ordinance. They are diminishing the revenue the city receives from recycling and puts towards overall refuse and recycling program funding: less revenue from recyclables results in higher fees or taxes for service. As well, scavenging supports indigent and often alcohol or drugs addicted homeless lifestyles, which is terrible for the homeless and the community. And finally, scavenging promotes people lurking in our alleys, carports, and garages at all times of the night that take advantage of crimes of opportunity – primarily property crimes like theft and vandalism. Solution? Take your CRV to recycle yourself. Lock your bin when not out for service with a long shank padlock. Put your bins out in the early morning rather than night before service. And report scavenging to non-emergency police or code enforcement.

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