Four Tampa Bay Communities Say, ‘Trash the Bag’
In a first, St. Petersburg, Tampa and Pinellas and Hillsborough counties have partnered in a single regional recycling campaign to promote recycling of plastic and encourage residents to “trash the bag.”
TAMPA BAY – 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 also face the same challenge of contamination – attempting to recycle soiled items or materials the programs don’t accept.
The new public education campaign is designed to help people recycle correctly and to keep up with rule changes. It features a new bay-spanning video and co-branded webpage, TampaBayRecycles.org, which will provide recycling information and encourage residents to keep recycling free of plastic bags, no matter where they are in the Tampa Bay area. Partners in this effort include the cities of ity of St. Petersburg and Tampa and the counties of Pinellas and Hillsborough.
Plastic bags and bagged recyclables aren’t recycled because they can’t be efficiently sorted by recycling equipment. Plastic bags also get tangled in the sorting equipment, which causes equipment damage, creates health and safety hazards for workers, reduces the amount of recyclables that can be recovered, and increases the cost of the recycling process. All recyclables should be placed in recycling carts and municipal drop-off containers loosely, not bagged.
Using reusable bags is more eco-friendly than using disposable plastic bags when shopping. Plastic bags can be reused for other purposes around the house, recycled at participating retailers, or disposed of in garbage carts.
Plastic bags aren’t the only items that cause contamination in the recycling system. Contamination happens when residents attempt to recycle items that can’t be recovered in our single-stream residential recycling programs. Items such as plastic bags, cords, wires, tarps, and hoses jam and damage sorting equipment. Officials say to trash these tanglers to help keep recycling equipment working to recycle items that can be recovered.
Unrinsed food containers or soiled paper can’t be recovered and contaminate the other clean, quality recyclables. Items, such as electronics or clothing, also can’t be recovered in single-stream residential drop-off or curbside collection programs, but may be recyclable at specific locations and other collection programs within the region.
Contamination increases recycling costs and degrades the quality of materials, reducing the ability of the materials to be recycled. Help contribute to the success of recycling programs by reviewing what can and cannot be recycled by visiting your local government’s recycling webpage.
All four jurisdictions participating in the regional recycling effort use Waste-to-Energy facilities for trash disposal, turning garbage into renewable electricity.
Curbside and residential recycling systems are only designed to process certain items, including:
Clean and empty plastic bottles and containers
Clean and empty aluminum cans
Clean and empty glass bottles and jars
Dry paper, newspaper, and junk mail
Clean and empty metal containers
Clean and empty milk and juice cartons
Dry flattened cardboard
Dry paperboard boxes (such as cereal boxes)
This partnership marks the first time Pinellas, Hillsborough, Tampa, and St. Petersburg have worked together on a single regional recycling campaign.
Join the social media conversation, share recycling tips, and ask questions by using #TampaBayRecycles
For information on recycling in Pinellas, go to pinellascounty.org.
For information on Hillsborough recycling, go to hillsboroughcounty.org.
For information on Tampa recycling, go to tampagov.net
For information on St. Pete recycling, go to stpete.org
Photo courtesy of Tampa Bay Recycles.
Environment | Recycle | Pollution | #TampaBayRecycles | Recycle | Tampa Bay News | TB Reporter
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