Together We Can Make Tampa Bay the Top Recycling Region in Florida
Local governments across Tampa Bay have teamed up to improve recycling efforts in the region. No matter which Tampa Bay area community you call home, all residential recycling programs throughout Hillsborough and Pinellas counties now recycle the same items but we all also face the same challenge of contamination – attempting to recycle soiled items or materials our programs don’t accept.
Whether you have been recycling for decades or just started, it’s worth taking a second look to make sure you are recycling correctly. Recycling technology and processes change over time, so recycling program rules change, too.
Remember to keep your recyclables clean, dry, and un-bagged when depositing them into recycling carts or local drop-off centers. Bagged recyclables aren’t recycled because they can’t be sorted by the recycling equipment.
Curbside and residential recycling systems are only designed to process certain program items. Bagged recyclables aren’t recycled because they can’t be sorted by the recycling equipment. Plastic bags also tangle up in the sorting equipment, which causes equipment damage, creates health and safety hazards for workers, reduces the amount of recyclables that can be successfully recovered, and increases the overall cost of the recycling process.
The partner regional multimedia public education campaign launched April 17, just in time for Earth Day. A new bay-spanning video and co-branded webpage, TampaBayRecycles.org, provides information about why people need to keep recycling bag-free no matter where they recycle in the Tampa Bay area - home, work, public venues, or collection centers.
Utilizing reusable bags is more eco-friendly than getting disposable plastic bags when shopping. For those who use plastic bags and can’t return them to participating retailers for special recycling, the good news is that all four governments use Waste-to-Energy facilities for trash disposal – turning garbage into renewable electricity.
This is the first time all the county and city solid waste departments have worked together on a single regional campaign. Since people tend to live, work, and entertain throughout the region, not just within the city or county they live in, providing one simple consistent message will make it easier for residents to understand recycling rules and will, hopefully, translate to behavior change to reduce contamination in the regional recycling stream.