In February 2020, the City of Tampa was awarded a grant to launch a pilot cart-tagging recycling education campaign. This initiative known as The Recycling Partnership’s Feet on the Street program, is intended to improve the quality of recycling in the City’s single-stream curbside recycling program and provide personalized, real-time recycling education and feedback. The program, postponed due to the pandemic, will launch December 7, 2020.
“Many residents unintentionally contaminate recycling loads, making the material garbage instead of recycling. For the sustainability of the City’s recycling programs which are costly, and make a difference in our environment, recycling right is critical. Through this pilot program, we are providing our customers with customized information on how they can improve the quality of Tampa’s recycling material,” said Department Director, Mark Wilfalk.
The “Feet on the Street” campaign includes a comprehensive curbside recycling education strategy and a field team to assess the material in the residential recycling carts and provide personalized feedback. Residents will receive a mailer prior to the launch of the program as a reminder of what and how to place items in their curbside containers [i.e. recyclables should be loose (not bagged), no plastic bags, clean and dry items only (without food residue), no batteries, electronics or Styrofoam™]. Many of these materials create hazards for recycling facility workers.
“The Recycling Partnership’s Feet on the Street campaign works by giving Tampa residents real-time feedback on what is and is not recyclable,” said Jill Marton, Director of Community Programs at The Recycling Partnership. “Through this process, we are helping the City of Tampa capture more quality recyclables that are then transformed into new materials, creating a more circular, resilient economy, a less wasteful planet, and stronger, healthier communities.”
The Recycling Partnership, a national nonprofit organization puts private dollars to work, helping communities invest in recycling systems and empowering residents to take sustainable action. Tampa’s grant is part of a larger project happening in Florida made possible in part by the Coca-Cola Foundation and How2Recycle, a U.S. and Canada-based standardized labeling system that clearly communicates recycling instructions to the public.
To date, more than 70 U.S. communities have adopted The Recycling Partnership’s Feet on the Street program, with some communities seeing a 57% decrease of non-recyclables in the recycling and a 27% increase in the overall capture of quality recyclables.
To learn more about what is and is not recyclable in Tampa, visit www.tampagov.net/recycle.