Yard Waste – new program with the City of Tampa

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Photo by Sean Kinane/WMNF 2017

Feb 12th at 11 am the Sustainable Living show interviewed Shelby Lewis and Edgar Castra Tello about the City of Tampa’s new yard waste program.

Shelby Lewis, Recycling Coordinator Shelby is a native Floridian and a graduate of the University of South Florida with a degree in psychology. She has worked for the City of Tampa for over 4 years and has a professional background in the Solid Waste industry, more specifically in waste diversion and outreach. Prior to that, Shelby worked in the marine conservation and research field. A passion for the environment and all those that inhabit it has kept Shelby in the industry of conservation, from researching wild dolphins, to studying waste.

Edgar Castro Tello, Recycling Specialist is Venezuelan-born and University of Central Florida graduate, started his environmental career in conservation education at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. He worked as a field biologist performing migratory bird studies and evaluations, while implementing federal and state policies relating to urban development and wildlife. He continued his passion for environmental education with the  City of Tampa where he’s worked for 5 ½  years as the Recycling Specialist in the Department of Solid Waste & Environmental Program Management, working on programs such as backyard composting, (bead reuse program)  and other waste reduction initiatives.

The program is limited in the limits of the City of Tampa, check to see if your area is in the zone. This program will take any plant material that used to be alive.  The city has a 3rd party that will mulch and compost the materials and will work on a way to make it available to residents. Currently the city takes in 38 million lbs a year of materials and 50% of this is compostable.

The new required curb set out methods for yard waste collection is the material needs to be packaged in paper bags or tied with jute twine. Individual bundles must be less than 50 lbs – or in a 32-gallon tub

Any contamination will keep the bundle from getting picked up. It will left at the curb to be re-packaged.

What happens if there are contaminants? Why isn’t plastic taken – one plastic bag is millions of pieces of plastic bits and contaminate yard waste.  What programs are offered by the city for food waste? Wasted food. City offered a free compost bin for compost at home.  1200 homes are currently using the bin.  Back yard composting program – email to sign up for the workshop tampa.gov/compost

There are many waste reduction initiatives on the City’s website www.Tampa.gov/wastereduction

Find out if you are a part of the yard waste compost program at www.Tampa.gov/yardwaste

Look for the Citys new program on Biodigesters

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