Tampa in Technicolor from Above

Tampa Celebrates Global Recycling Day

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With more than 34 million pounds of recyclables collected every year in the City of Tampa, the Department of Solid Waste & Environmental Program Management will be celebrating Global Recycling Day with a myth-busting campaign and a sneak peek of the Waste Management Recycling Plant.

Servicing more than 80,000 residences, the amount of recyclables collected every year in Tampa is enough to fill eight Olympic-sized pools. In January 2023, the city hit a record with approximately 3.7 million tons of recyclables collected in one month. 

Though the first step should always be to either reduce consumption or reuse items, recycling should come next, if possible. Not only does it save natural resources and divert items from landfills and incinerators, it creates hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country. 

"We recognize the importance of recycling and even more so, recycling right. Residents can and do make a difference when they recycle right and I want to appreciate them on this day," said Larry Washington, Director of Tampa's Solid Waste Department. "We need their participation to keep the program running successfully."

All recyclables collected within the city are sent to the current recycling contractor, Waste Management, for processing. There the recyclables begin their journey. 

Before residents recycle they are encouraged to prepare their recyclables by doing the following: 

Prep your recyclables

  • Larger than the size of your fist.
  • Rinsed, empty, and/or dry as appropriate.
  • Only refer to the accepted items listed and do not use the plastic resin number as a guide for recycling. Not all items marketed as recyclable are accepted locally.

Take your recyclables to the cart

  • All items must be free and loose (not bagged). Bagged material will not be recycled. 
  • Do not jam in boxes as they can get stuck and prevent the proper collection of materials.
  • Ensure your cart lid is down to prevent items from getting wet.

Set your cart out for service

  • Unlike garbage, your recycling cart can wait to be full before being placed at the curb for collection service. 
  • Place the cart at the curb with a 3-foot clearance on all sides the night before your designated pickup day, or before 6 a.m. on your pickup day. 
  • The cart must be removed from the curb by the end of the service day.

Information on what can be recycled in the area can be found at tampabayrecycles.org. Local rules apply. You can find more info on the City of Tampa’s recycling program at tampa.gov/recycle, or by downloading the Tampa Trash and Recycling app.