Every living thing eats and poops. Life is in essence the process of taking good things and turning them to shit. We humans also are quite good at arranging our environment to our benefit and in the process creating large amounts of other stuff we don't want.

The economics of getting the most our of what you have is knowing the value in the things around you. Don't forget that one of the things you want most is to manage your environment including you personal space, your community and local environment, and the world we all share.

Recycling is good for the environment and good for the economy.

The business of trash collection is very costly for municipalities everywhere. Every household and business generates some amount of trash, some more than others, but those who recycle and compost are the ones who do the most to reduce the burden of human waste on the planet.

The bottom line is, each of us is responsible for the garbage we produce, even if no one is holding us to a standard. You can hold yourself to a standard and reduce your burden on the planet. This handy guide is intended to help you sort your garbage and help your garbage find it's way to a better life.

These are the 5 most important steps you can take and a handy list of how to dispose of various things, plus lists of local Ventura green resources from your friends at Transition Towns Ventura.

  • Reuse
  • Recycle
  • Compost
  • Trash
  • Dispose

Step one: Get to know your municipal waste facility

Check the web site of your community trash collectors and find out what they take and don't take. Every facility is different. Most municipalities have some form of recycling program, most have different programs for different materials. Find out what they have, and start talking to people about getting more.




Thousand Oaks


These are the things to look for:


Step Two: How to Sort Your Garbage

Whenever you throw something out, your mind makes a quick mental calculation regarding that thing's future value and the cost of securing that value.

As cunning consumers and misers, we know that there's money to be made imply by being able to recognise value in something and showing it to others.

This guide is designed to help you spot value and get the most out of your garbage.

Question #1 Is it still functional for it's original purpose?

If the thing you want to throw out is still basically functional, but just not what you want any more, try selling it for profit.

Some of the popular ways to sell used items these days are:

  • eBay, where a good story sells
  • craigs list
  • Amazon
  • Yard sales
  • Flea Markets

If you can't sell it for it's original purpose, or don't want to bother with the effort, you can give it away to charity


Step Three Recycling

California CRV

California CRV is another landmark California program that encourages recycling.

California Refund Value (CRV) is the cash amount refunded by the state for beverage containers under the 1989 Bottle Bill law which was designed to reduce littering and encourage recycling.

  • 5 cents for each container under 24 ounces
  • 10 cents for each container 24 ounces or greater

The CRV amount is paid by the consumer at the check stand, and refunded at any of the CRV redemption centers through out the state. Find a center click here.

In California, nearly 22 billion California Refund Value (CRV)-eligible containers were sold in 2009. Of those, more than 17 billion were recycled!

And the nearly 4 billion that ended up in landfills? You could use them to fill every lane of the entire 770-mile length of Interstate 5...almost a foot deep.

Since more than 4 billion bottles and cans ended up in the landfill, nobody claimed the CRV on them. How much CRV? More than $100 million worth!

CRV is 5¢ for bottles and cans less than 24 ounces, and 10¢ for larger ones.

CRV refunds are available to anyone--consumers, companies, or nonprofits--who returns bottles and cans to a recycling center.

By eliminating the need to manufacture new products from raw materials, recycling reduces energy use, in turn reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses in the air.

For every 10 pounds of aluminum you recycle, you eliminate 37 pounds of carbon emissions from the air.

For every 10 pounds of clear plastic water or soda bottles, 3.3 pounds of carbon emissions disappear.

And although glass bottles are a lot heavier, each 10 pounds recycled still reduces carbon by nearly a pound.

In a landfill, aluminum cans take 80-100 years to break down.

Plastic bottles hang around as long as 700 years.

Glass bottles spend 1 million years waiting around to decompose.

Recycling No.AbbrevUses Once Recycled
1 PETE or PET PolyethylenePolyester fibers, thermoformed sheet, strapping, and soft drink bottles.
2 HDPE High density polyethyleneBottles, grocery bags, recycling bins, agricultural pipe, base cups, car stops, playground equipment, and plastic lumber.
3 PVC or V Polyvinyl chloridepipe, fencing, and non-food bottles.
4 LDPE Low density polyethylenePlastic bags, 6 pack rings, various containers, dispensing bottles, wash bottles, tubing, and various molded laboratory equipment.
5 PP PolypropyleneAuto parts, industrial fibers, food containers, and dishware.
6 PS PolystyreneDesk accessories, cafeteria trays, toys, video cassettes and cases, and insulation board and other expanded polystyrene products (e.g., Styrofoam).
7 OtherOther plastics, including acrylic, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, fiberglass, nylon, polycarbonate, and polylactic acid.

Check here for the current per pound rate

Cal Recycle Scrap Value page.

Scrap value per ton 2015 (subject to change)
Aluminum $2,382.85
Bimetal $0.52
Glass ($0.68)
#1 PET Plastic $291.62
#2 HDPE Plastic $324.23
#3 PVC Plastic $0.00
#4 LDPE Plastic $106.36
#5 PP Plastic $12.22
#6 PS Plastic $29.89
#7 Other Plastic $4.22


Step Four - Composting


Material (Carbon:Nitrogen ratio)
Ashes are great if they don't contain dangerous chemicals that are toxic to plants
Cat, dog, or human feces
Likely to contain disease organisms, like parasites, fleas, and worms.
Meat, fat, grease or oils
these things don't break down well and they attract pests.
Sawdust, weathered (142:1)
Leaves (35:1 to 85:1)
Manure (90:1)
Droppings from vegetarians animals such as chickens, goats, cows, and horses are generally considered safe for composting (although technically chickens are omnivores). Excrement from animals that eat meat such as dogs, cats a humans, should buried far away from edible plants that may become infected with bad germs, not be composted (the difference is that you don't rework buried things like you do compost).
Cardboard, shredded (350:1)
Corn stalks (75:1)
Fruit waste (35:1)
Leaves (60:1)
Newspaper, shredded (175:1)
Worms love this stuff.
Peanut shells (35:1)
Pine needles (80:1)
Sawdust (325:1)
Straw (75:1)
Clover (23:1)
Wood chips (400:1)
Greens = High Nitrogen
Alfalfa (12:1)
Corn stalks (60:1)
Straw (80:1)
Browns = High Carbon (C:N)
Coffee grounds (20:1)
Food waste (20:1
Garden waste (30:1)
Grass clippings (20:1)
Hay (25:1)
Manures (15:1)
Seaweed (19:1)
Vegetable scraps (25:1)
Weeds (30:1)
Food scraps (15:1)
Alfalfa hay (18:1)
Grass clippings (19:1)
Rotted manure (20:1)
Sandy loam (coarse) (25:1)
Vegetable trimmings (25:1)
Oak leaves (26:1)
Leaves (varies from 35:1 to 85:1)
Peat moss (58:1)
Corn stalks (60:1)
Straw (80:1)
Pine needles (60:1 to 110:1)
Farm manure (90:1)
Carbon to Nitrogen Ratios of Various Waste Materials
Material C:N Ratio Material C:N Ratio
Alfalfa meal (15 )
Newspaper (400-850)
Animal tankage (7 )
Oat straw (50-100)
Apple pomace (48 )
Paper (125-180)
Aquatic plants (15-35 )
Paper fiber sludge (250)
Blood meal 3 Paper mill sludge 55 Cardboard (corrugated) 560 Paper pulp 90 Castor pomace 8 Paunch manure 20-30 Cocoa shells 22 Pig manure 10-20 Coffee grounds 20 Potato tops 28 Compost 15-20 Potatoes (culled) 18 Corn silage 35-45 Poultry manure 5-15 Corn wastes 60-120 Rice hulls 110-130 Cottonseed meal 7 Sawdust 200-750 Cow manure 10-30 Sawmill waste 170 Crab/Lobster wastes 4-4.5 Seaweed 5-27 Cranberry wastes 30-60 Seed meals 7 Fish wastes 2.5-5.5 Sewage sludge 5-16 Food wastes 14-16 Sheep manure 13-20 Fruit wastes 20-50 Shrimp wastes 3.5 Garden wastes 5-55 Shrub trimmings 53 Grass clippings 9-25 Slaughterhouse wastes 2-4 Grass hay 32 Softwood bark 100-1000 Hardwood bark 100-400 Softwood chips, shavings, etc. 200-1300 Hardwood chips, shavings, etc. 450-800 Soil 12 Hoof and horn meal 3 Soybean meal 4-6 Horse manure 22-50 Tree trimmings 16 Leaves 40-80 Turkey litter 16 Legume hay 15-19 Vegetable wastes 11-19 Linseed meal 8 Wheat straw 100-150
  • The following is a chart listing common composting materials Leaves (trees and bushes) Yes Carbon May contain materials bad for plants. Ashes from untreated, unpainted wood Careful Neutral Fine amounts at most. Can make the pile too alkaline and suppress composting. Fruit and fruit peels Yes Nitrogen great source of nitrogen. Bury within compost pile. Bird droppings Careful Nitrogen May contain weed seeds or disease organisms. Cardboard Yes Carbon Shred into small pieces if you use it. Wetting it makes it easier to tear. If you have a lot, consider recycling instead. Cat droppings or cat litter No n/a May contain disease organisms. Avoid. Coffee ground and filters Yes N Great souce of nitrogen for your composter, add the grounds and the filter. Worms love coffee grounds and coffee filters. Compost activator Not required, but ok. Neutral You don’t really need it, but it doesn’t hurt. Cornstalks, corn cobs Yes Carbon Best if shredded and mixed well with nitrogen rich materials. Diseased plants Careful Nitrogen If your pile doesn’t get hot enough, it might not kill the organisms, so be careful. Let it cure several months, and don’t use resulting compost near the type of plant that was diseased. Dog droppings No n/a Avoid. Dryer lint Yes Carbon Compost away! Moistening helps. Eggshells Yes O Break down slowly. Crushing shells helps. Fish scraps No n/a Can attract rodents and cause a stinky pile. Beverages, kitchen rinse water Yes Neutral Good to moisten the middle of the pile. Don’t over-moisten the pile. Hair Yes Nitrogen Scatter so it isn’t in clumps. Lime No n/a Can kill composting action. Avoid. Manure (horse, cow, pig, sheep, goat, chicken, rabbit) Yes Nitrogen Great source of nitrogen. Mix with carbon rich materials so it breaks down better. Meat, fat, grease, oils, bones No n/a Avoid. Milk, cheese, yogurt Careful Neutral Not recommended. Put it deep in the pile to avoid attracting animals. Newspaper Yes Carbon Shred it so it breaks down easier. It is easy to add too much newspaper, so recycle instead if you have a lot. Don’t add slick colored pages. Ashes from coal or charcoal No n/a Shredding leaves helps them break down faster.They decompose slower without shreding. Acidic. Sawdust and wood shavings (untreated wood) Yes Carbon You’ll need a lot of nitrogen materials to make up for the high carbon content. Don’t use too much, and don’t use treated woods. Pine needles and cones Yes Carbon Don’t overload the pile. Also acidic and decomposes slowly. Weeds Careful Nitrogen Dry them out on the pavement, then add later. Sod Careful Nitrogen Make sure the pile is hot enough, so grass doesn’t continue growing. Algae, seaweed and lake moss Yes Nitrogen Good nutrient source.

    Did you know that it is actually illegal to throw the following things in the trash: Before You Transport Asbestos: Must be soaked in water and then double-bagged. Transite pipe which is heat resistant ceramic pipe used in chimneys and heating systems must be cut in sections no longer than two feet, soaked and double-bagged. Medical Sharps: Hypodermic needles, pen needles, intravenous needles, lancets and other devices that are used to penetrate the skin for the delivery of medication will ONLY be accepted in an approved sharps container in compliance with State regulations. To prevent injury and transmission of disease.

    not accepted Aerosol Cans • Adhesives • Batteries (Auto and Household) • Fluorescent Tubes and Bulbs (CFL’s) • Fuel Additives • Gasoline • Household Cleaners • Medical Sharps • Medications (non-narcotic only) • Mercury Products • Motor Oil / Filters • Paint, Polishes and Varnish • Paint-related Materials • Pesticides • Pool Chemicals • Turpentine • Transmission Fluid • Thermometers • Call for further items Accepted Call (805) 652-4525 for information on how to safely dispose of these items. • 55-Gallon Drums • Containers greater than five gallons • Commercial/Industrial Waste • Compressed Gas/Propane Tanks (Small barbeque/camp stove OK) • Explosives, Bullets or Fireworks • Radioactive Material • Smoke Detectors (Mail back to the manufacturer) • Electronic Waste (Free drop off at Gold Coast Recycling any time. Proof of Ventura city residency required.) Hazardous waste - 1. Water-Based Paints 2. Oil-Based Paints & Solvents 2. 3. Household Cleaners & Polishes 3. 4. Pesticides, Herbicides & Fertilizers 4. 5. Pool & Photography Chemicals 5. 6. Household Batteries 6. 7. Small Propane Cylinders 8. Fluorescent Light Tubes 9. Antifreeze 10. Auto Batteries 11. Sharps - Needles/syringes (proper closed containers required call for information) 13. Used Motor Oil & Filters Compressed Gas Cylinders Explosives, Ammunition, or Fireworks Radioactive Waste Smoke Detectors Tires

    (Proof of Ventura city residency required) • Latex Paint only – limit 10 gallons • Motor Oil – (4) 5-gallon containers, maximum 20 gallons • Oil Filters – no limit • Antifreeze – limit 10 gallons • Automotive Batteries – limit 2 • Household Batteries – no limit • Fluorescent Tubes and Bulbs (CFL’s) – no limit • Electronic Waste – no limit


    Acceptable Materials Simi Valley Landfill & Recycling Center is a Class III Non Hazardous Landfill. This means that only non-hazardous waste can be accepted including:

    Municipal Solid Waste Non-hazardous household and commercial refuse. Appliances Major appliances such as washers and dryers, water heaters, refrigerators are accepted for recycling. Tires Automobile and truck tires will be accepted at an additional charge. Tires are shipped to tire processors. Construction and Demolition Materials The Construction and Demolition Recycling Facility at the Simi Valley Landfill accepts co-mingled C&D waste. Items accepted include non-hazardous materials such as cardboard, drywall, flooring, roofing materials, tile and windows. WM will continue to offer reduced rates for source-separated materials such as dirt, concrete, asphalt and wood/green waste. Clean Dirt Granular soil such as clay, sand, or silt that breaks apart when handled by light duty construction equipment such as a small backhoe or skip loader. No trash, metal, or wood. Less than 10% root and/or grass contamination. Loads with these contaminants will be charged as trash. Loads with excessive rock, concrete, or asphalt will be charged as Mixed Inert as described below. Clean Asphalt/Concrete Any combination of rock, concrete, gravel, brick, asphalt, or asphalt grindings which is less than 24 inches in any 2 dimensions. Loads containing debris exceeding this size limitation will be charged as trash. Loads with debris greater than 6 feet in any dimension may be assessed an additional handling fee (hard-to-handle fee). Concrete debris should have minimal re-bar protruding from the individual pieces of concrete. No trash, excessive metal, wood, roots, or grass contaminants. Loads with these contaminants will be charged as trash. Loads with soil content greater than 10% will be charged as Mixed Inert as described below. Mixed Inerts Any combination of Clean Dirt (as described above) and Clean Asphalt/Concrete (as described above). No trash, metal, or wood. Less than 10% root and/or grass contamination. Loads with these contaminants will be charged as trash. Woodwaste and Greenwaste Any combination of clean wood, dimensional lumber (no painted or treated wood), grass, branches, leaves, and other plant matter. Minimal roots and soil content allowed. No trash, recyclables, palm fronds, yucca plants, and ice plants allowed. Loads with these contaminants will be charged as trash. Non-Acceptable Materials Hazardous Materials Includes but not limited to: batteries, automotive fluids (fuel, antifreeze, oils), paint, lacquer, stain, thinner, varnish, wood preservatives, and chemicals of any kind (i.e. pool chemicals, pesticides and weed killer) Electronic Waste including but not limited to: televisions, computers, monitors, printers, VCRs, cell phones, telephones, radios and microwave ovens Fluorescent Light Tubes and Ballasts Liquids Water-Soluble Solids Salt, borax, lye, caustics/acids Biological/Medical Waste Empty Hazardous Material Containers Septic Tank or Chemical Toilet Waste Automobile Bodies Radioactive Materials For information on disposal of these prohibited wastes, please contact your City's or the County household hazardous waste program for dates, times and locations of collection and disposal events.

    City of Simi Valley (805) 583-6321 City of Moorpark (805) 583-6321 County of Ventura (800) 253-2687

    Beverage Containers. Find a beverage container recycling center where you will receive California Refund Value (CRV). Carpet. California is the first state in the nation to establish a statewide Carpet Stewardship Program which helps ensure that discarded carpet becomes a resource for new products. Ask your retailer/installer about recycling options. Locate a carpet collector and/or processor near you to recycle or dispose of old carpet.

    Construction debris. You can search for facilities by county that reuse or recycle types of construction and demolition (C&D) debris, such as asphalt, drywall, and metal, on our site.

    Electronic Waste. Discarded electronic products can present environmental hazards if not properly managed. Search this directory to find an organization near you that may handle your unwanted electronics.

    Mattresses. California is the third state to adopt a used mattress recovery and recycling program. Check out the mattress product stewardship page for information on CalRecycle's activities related to the end-of-life management of these mostly recyclable products. According to a 2012 CalRecycle-commissioned mattress case study recycling mattresses saves landfill space and is estimated to offset 45% of GHG emissions associated with the production and landfilling of these products. If you have an old mattress, you can find local recyclers at the Mattress Recycling Council (MRC) website, the non-profit created by the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA) to implement the requirements of SB 254, or Earth911.org. For information and resources related to product stewardship for mattresses, see the Product Stewardship Institute's web page on mattresses.

    Paint. As a result of the California Paint Stewardship Program, Californian's now have free access to leftover paint collection sites at retailers and other locations statewide. Locate the nearest drop-off site for your leftover paint to ensure it is recycled, re-used or disposed of in an environmentally sound fashion.

    Plastic. You can also find facilities that reuse or recycle specific types of plastic, such as acrylic, nylon, high density polyethylene (HDPE), and low density polyethylene (LDPE) on our site.

    Used Oil. Find out where you can take your used motor oil and receive 40 cents per gallon.

    Vehicle Donation. Some organizations will accept your unwanted vehicle as a charitable donation. It’s another way to support California’s campaign to reduce, reuse and recycle, while supporting a worthy cause.

    Our people and partners:


    How to Identify Different Types of Plastic

    Different Types of Plastic

    Plastic types are distinguished and separated based on the chemical makeup and codes allocated by international agreement. Here is the recognised guideline on the recycling codes assigned to plastic products for recycling:

    Plastic Identification Codes


    Floating or Sinking

    The huge floating island of plastic in the Pacific ocean comprises only the plastics that float. What about all those that sink? Where are they?

    The easiest way to identify between broad groups of plastic is by establishing whether they float or sink. While there are exceptions, the polyolefins generally float in water and the rest, generally sink. The polyolefins include numbers 2, 4 and 5 above - High Density Polyethylene (2), Low Density Polyethylene (4) and Polypropylene (5). So as a rule of thumb, if a piece of the plastic floats, it will be one of these and otherwise, it will something else.

    This sounds astonishing, but try this and you will see. Chop a manageable piece (possibly thumbnail-sized) off a milk bottle (HDPE) and it will float; conversely, a piece from a cool drink bottle (PET) will sink!

    The frightening part of this, is that the massive floating island of plastic in the ocean, comprises primarily plastics that float and, as you can see from those the sink vs those that float, there are many types of plastic that sink and that we must presume are all lying on the bottom of our oceans.

    There are many misconceptions about the floating "island of garbage" and the reality is very different from the public image of a giant pile of trash floating in the ocean. The plastic pieces are generally very small and an interesting article on the subject can be found here, although this does not form the subject matter of this hub.

    Manila harbour and NOT the Pacific trash island


    How Different Plastics are Distinguished


    Blue with a yellow tip would be indicative of the polyolefins and nylon. You might think, well how would you separate these two if their flame is the same? Remember from above, the polyolefins would float and nylon (PA) would sink.

    A yellow flame with a green tip on contact shows PVC (Polyvinyl Choride), yellow with dark smoke could be PET or Polycarbonate and yellow with sooty, dark, smoke could be polystyrene or ABS (the plastic housing of your computer monitor).


    The polyolefins ignite quite readily - be very careful if you are testing this type of plastic because molten plastic can drip and will leave an ugly burn if you make contact with it.

    PVC (many garden hosepipes and certain piping for household plumbing, but it is becoming an unpopular plastic in modern times) and ABS will only ignite with moderate enthusiasm and will soften, but not release dripping "firebombs" of plastic; while PET also ignites moderately, but bubbles as it melts.


    After you have applied a flame to the plastic piece to test it, and carefully observed the smoke and ignition potential, you can carefully waft some of the smoke towards your nose. WARNING: if you have already identified the plastic from other methods and particularly in where you suspect the plastic is PVC, do not smell the smoke.

    If you must, and we advise against it where possible, a small whiff of the smoke will give you further clues as to the plastic identification code under which your suspect can be classified.

    PET smells similar to burnt sugar (the odour reminds the author of eating candy-floss or sugar-candy in his childhood); PVC has an acrid smell like chlorine - stay away from the smoke and gas given off by PVC; LDPE and HDPE smell like candle wax, while Polypropylene smells similar to candle wax, but with an element of paraffin to it; ABS and polystyrene both smell like styrene, but the ABS also has a faint rubbery smell to it.

    Touch and Sound

    The polyolefins are a rather tricky bunch of characters. They generally all float, have the same flame and dripping "firebomb" effect and even smell the same! This makes them rather tricky to tell apart, particularly when they are in the form of film - in other words, when they are packaging like packets or film wrapping.

    Plastic packets can be made from LDPE, HDPE or PP. Now your senses of touch and hearing are drafted into play.

    LDPE feels soft and smooth, like the bag Mom packs your sandwich into. Additionally, if you rub it together, it will make a soft swishing sound, as opposed to a crinkling, harsher sound.

    HDPE feels harder and essentially, more crinkly. Many plastic shopping bags are manufactured from HDPE and the easiest way to distinguish them from LDPE bags, is from the sound the make when you crinkle them in your hands. If the sound is soft and swishing (think of green leaves blowing in the trees), then you have identified LDPE; if the sound is crisper and crinkly (think of dry leaves being squished together), then you have HDPE. The two sounds are quite distinct.

    Our final campaigner in this section is PP, also known as polyprop or polypropylene. Packets made of this plastic sound similar to HDPE and are crinkly. PP is generally used for packaging food, such as chocolate and chips wrappers, or the clear packets you might buy a gentleman's shirt in. It feels much firmer and stiffer, but the most important trick here, is that it does not stretch. It simply rips and tears without stretching at all first.