Pinellas weighs expanded recycling while Polk retreats

Stephanie Watson, Pinellas County Program Manager for Recycling & Outreach Programs, and in Pinellas County, and Daniel Gallagher, recycling coordinator for Hillsborough County.

While Polk County will abandon its curbside recycling program next year, the Pinellas County Commission on Thursday will discuss ways to expand to universal curbside collection in unincorporated areas.

Those changes are part of the evolution of recycling in the Tampa Bay area, two recycling experts told WMNF WaveMakers with Janet on Tom on Tuesday (Aug. 8, 2023).

A lot is changing in the world of recycling and for the average person it can be hard to keep up.

Recycling is relatively new and still evolving. Tampa has had curbside recycling for more than 30 years, while St. Petersburg started its curbside program only eight years ago. As Polk County moves to end its universal curbside program Pinellas is considering changes aimed at reducing the amount of waste that goes to the landfill and incinerator. 

Joining Janet and Tom to talk about these issues were Stephanie Watson, Program Manager for Recycling & Outreach Programs in Pinellas County;  and Daniel Gallagher, recycling coordinator for Hillsborough County.

They explained what trash should be recycled and which should be placed with all refuse. Bottom line: You can generally recycle aluminum cans, glass containers, most paper and cardboard products. Plastic is trickier, so recycle only plastic jugs and bottles (in Hillsborough you can leave the caps on but in Pinellas the caps should be removed). Other plastic should be reused or thrown away.

One thing you should not put in recycling bins or garbage cans: anything with rechargeable batteries. While regular batteries can go in the garbage, rechargeable batteries can cause fires in garbage trucks and should be taken to special collections points for disposal.

You can find details on what to recycle and what to trash here for Pinellas and here for Hillsborough.

Hear the entire conversation by clicking the link below, going to the WaveMakers archives or by searching for WMNF WaveMakers wherever you listen to podcasts.



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