Ordinance: Sec. 26-171 of the City Code is adopted as of February 1, 2024 and emphasizes not using plastic bags for yard waste curbside collection.
Eliminating plastic bags from yard waste collection processes is best practice and it is now required for residents to use max 32-gallon reusable containers, biodegradable paper bags, or bundles with natural fiber jute twine for curbside disposal. The elimination of plastic bags from the yard waste stream helps support City of Tampa’s commitment to environmental stewardship by creating the potential for compostable material.
Between November 1, 2023, to January 31, 2024, residences that prepare yard waste in plastic bags will receive an informational door hanger with a reminder that plastic bags will no longer be accepted as of February 1, 2024.
As of February 1, 2024, yard waste in plastic bags will NOT be collected. Residents will need to reset their materials out for collection using the provided requirements.
No. Compostable or biodegradable plastic bags may not be used for yard waste. Differences in manufacturers lead to disparities in breakdown processes and times.
Yard waste includes grass clippings, leaves, shrub trimmings, palm fronds, small tree limbs and branches. It should be placed separately from garbage and recyclables at the curb for collection.
Yard waste materials should be placed in biodegradable paper bags, max 32-gallon reusable containers or bundled with natural fibers for collection. Other natural fibers can be used as tying, like cotton or hemp. Materials should be less than 4 feet in length, less than 40 lbs. and 16” or less in diameter.
During holiday tree collection time, all tinsel, lights, and ornaments should be removed from trees before placing them at the curb. During this collection time trees don’t have to be cut down unless they are larger than 6 feet.
Unprepared yard waste or yard waste placed in cardboard boxes, wheelbarrows or recycling carts will not be picked up. Lumber, fencing and other treated wood is not yard waste.
According to City Ordinance Sec. 26-148 (6), Landscaping companies are responsible for disposal of the waste they generate at their worksites, including residential homes. Curbside yard waste collection is only for yard waste generated by the independent resident. Companies are to haul all brush material to the McKay Bay Waste Management Complex or local yard waste recycler.
Yard waste that is collected at the curb is transported to a contracted facility for mulching and further composting. The composting process is only for organic (carbon-based) material. Any inorganic materials, such as plastic bags, plastic rope, or decorations, do not break down in this process which contaminates the finished composting product.
Yard waste set out not following the directed guidelines will not be collected after the date of February 1, 2024. Make-up service will not occur, and residents must wait until their next regularly scheduled collection day to receive curbside service. Residents will receive an informational tag on their yard waste material depicting what steps will need to be taken for proper collection. To have the materials picked up curbside, residents need to place the yard waste material in max 32-gallon reusable containers, biodegradable paper bags, or bundled with natural fiber jute twine for collection on the next regularly scheduled collection day.
Between November 1 through January 31, no further action will be required from residents. A courtesy doorhanger will be left at residences that have placed yard waste not in compliance with program rules at the curb as a reminder it will no longer be accepted beginning February 1, 2024.
Beginning February 1, 2024, yard waste materials must be in max 32-gallon reusable containers, biodegradable paper bags, or bundled with natural fiber jute twine. Any non-compliant yard waste material set out curbside will be tagged and left at the curb. Pickup will not occur until the next regularly scheduled collection day, only if materials are in compliance. To have the materials picked up curbside, residents need to place the yard waste material in max 32-gallon reusable containers, biodegradable paper bags, or bundled with natural fiber jute twine for collection on the next regularly scheduled collection day.
No. All residential garbage in the City of Tampa is incinerated at the McKay Bay Waste-to-Energy Facility. Yard waste materials are not suitable for the Waste-to-Energy process. Keeping yard waste materials out of the garbage helps divert useful nutrients and support the composting process.
No. Yard waste is not accepted in curbside recycling. Keeping yard waste materials collected separately helps divert useful nutrients and support the composting process. For a list of accepted recycling items, please visit tampa.gov/Recycle.
No. Yard waste materials can block the flow of water and impact storm drains. According to City Ordinance Sec. 26-148 (3): it is prohibited to deposit or dispose of any solid waste in or upon any public street, sidewalk, right-of-way or alleyway or any stream, ditch, river, pond, bay, creek, park or public place in the city.
Burning of yard debris, including trimmed or fallen branches, leaves, and debris due to routine property maintenance is strictly prohibited in the City of Tampa as per City Ordinance Sec. 26-148 (5).