Recycling to Zero Waste

Kern Green works with businesses, schools, parents, teachers and administrators to help establish a robust recycling program with an educational component (i.e., teaching them about the environmental benefits of recycling through supporting material).  As the program develops, Kern Green will aim to expand the types of items recycled.  Starting with the basics (e.g., paper, glass) and then moving forward to an array of recycling programs (e.g., organics, composting, plastics, etc).

Access to residential Curbside Recycling Programs vary – depending upon where you live in Kern County.

The communities of Arvin, Metro-Bakersfield, Delano, McFarland, Shafter, and Wasco offer residents a CURBSIDE GREEN WASTE RECYCLING Program as a part of the regular trash service.

The communities of Arvin, Delano,  McFarland, and Metro-Bakersfield have a CURBSIDE RECYCLING PROGRAM for common residential recyclable materials.  This blue bin program lets residents recycle a variety of common materials including aluminum, cardboard, glass, junk mail, newspaper, #1 through #7 plastic, steel, and tin cans.  Their program is part of the overall waste diversion plan for those communities and is available as a part of the regular trash service. For more information on these programs CLICK HERE.

Tehachapi, Mojave, Rosamond, and Boron residents are a part of a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) program. East Kern County residents, with trash service, can toss residential recyclable materials into the hauler-provided trash containers. Recyclable materials are sorted out at the “MRF” on Dennison Road.

Contact Information:

  • Arvin     661-245-0714
  • Bakersfield, Incorporated     661-326-3114
  • Bakersfield, Unincorporated     661-862-8900
  • Delano     661-721-3350
  • McFarland     661-792-3091
  • East Kern County     661-822-5273

Understand the Triangles

The following are brief descriptions of what the numbers indicate.  All curbside blue bins in Kern County accept 1-7 plastics but this does not apply to all recycling centers.

Plastic 1, PETE#1: PET: (polyethylene terephthalate): RECYCLABLE 

Polyethylene terephthalate is one of the most important types of plastic to recycle because it has such a high recycled value. Soda bottles, beer bottles, food bottles, plastic egg cartons and microwave trays are all examples of #1 PET plastics. After their first lives, these products can be recycled into a long fiber and made into carpet, fiberfill for jackets (fleece jackets), T-Shirt material and shopping bags. Did you know recycling one soda bottle could save enough energy to power your TV for one and a half hours?

Plastic 2, HDPE#2: HDPE: (high-density polyethylene): RECYCLABLE

Alternative decking materials, such as Trex, are one the most consumptive uses for recycled HDPE. Shampoo bottles and laundry detergent are examples of colored #2 HDPE that are recycled to create this plastic lumber. Other #2 containers that are clear, like plastic milk and water jugs, are recycled into new containers. However, some products that contain a HDPE plastic, such as Tyvek mailing envelopes or HAZMAT suits, cannot be recycled.

#3: V: (vinyl or polyvinyl chloride): RECYCLABLE

Polyvinyl chloride is touted as the “healthy plastic” because it has a high-temperature leaching point and leaches toxins at a slower rate. However, this plastic often constitutes one-time-use-goods including clear food packaging, outdoor furniture and even plumbing pipe which is not valued for its recyclability.

#4: LDPE: (Low-density polyethylene): RECYCLABLE

Many recycling facilities do not accept #4 plastics due to the cost of transportation: if there is no recycling facility close by, then the amount of energy it takes to transport this plastic is more than it takes to produce the virgin plastic material. Bags for bread, frozen food and grocery sacks are all examples of LDPE plastic. When they are recycled they become plastic bags or plastic lumber.

Plastic 5, PP#5: PP: (polypropylene): SOMETIMES RECYCLABLE

Polypropylene is the saving grace of folks in cold climates, providing them with warm clothing under layers but this same plastic is also used to make yogurt, margarine and other food containers. Similar to #3 Vinyl, there are not enough products that can be made by recycling polypropylene to financially justify recycling it. However, it’s worth checking in your area because sometimes, big businesses that have a use for PP will buy it.

Plastic 6, PS#6: PS: (polystyrene): SOMETIMES RECYCLABLE

If there is one plastic you should consider completely eliminating from your life, it is polystyrene! In the solid state, polystyrene is used to make compact disc jackets and one-time use items such as disposable cutlery and to-go containers. In the expanded state, Styrofoam packaging peanuts, coffee cups and meat trays are all examples of polystyrene. It is not economically efficient to recycle polystyrene because, similar to #4 plastics, the cost of transportation is more than the production of virgin material. The moral of this plastic is: don’t use it – it ends up in the landfills and waterways. Also, consider taking your PS packaging peanuts to a local packing store for them to reuse.

Plastic 7, Other#7: Others: SOMETIMES RECYCLABLE or Corn-Resin

There are a slew of other products that are made from a combination of plastic resins, thus #7 is the number those products have been assigned! A classic example of a #7 is ketchup bottles and lids. In order to make the best buying decisions for us, and our families, it is important to know that these products cannot always be recycled.

Also note that Corn-Based Biodegradable materials have a #7 symbol on it, even though it is not made from plastic.  This is a manufacturing requirement to denote the items recycling category of “other”, until an appropriate category for corn-resin bottles becomes adopted.

In addition to keeping unnecessary items out of the landfill and extending the usefulness of plastic items, consider that producing new plastic from recycled material uses only two-thirds of the energy required to manufacture it from raw materials.


We value companies that have mastered their recycling programs.   A zero waste facility is one that diverts 90% of their waste to recycling or reuse.

Our list of certified zero waste facilities:

Aera Energy

10000 Ming Avenue

Bakersfield, CA 93311