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Pinellas Co., Hillsborough Co. are tied leading the state for highest recycle rate

Hillsborough, Pinellas are great at recycling
Hillsborough, Pinellas are great at recycling
Posted at 4:32 AM, Aug 16, 2017

Hillsborough County and Pinellas County love to recycle. According to new data from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, they’re tied for the highest recycle rate in the state, at 82%.

"We use it every week,” said Jimmy Haskell, who just moved from Indiana to Hillsborough County.

Haskell says on Saturdays - his street is lined with bright blue recycle bins. 

"The easier if you make it, the better it's going to be,” he said.

RELATED | You may be recycling all wrong

It really is super easy - so why are so many people doing it wrong? 

The contamination rate in Hillsborough is 19%, that is 3 points higher than the national rate. Plastic bags, bubble wrap and things that tangle in the machines force the two recycling facilities in Hillsborough county to shut down entirely while employees crawl in and cut it out.

"Not only is that dangerous for our staff but we're losing productivity,” said Travis Barnes, the Recycling coordinator for Hillsborough County.

RELATED | Pasco pleads for more recycling to avoid spending $190M on waste facility expansion

Before you put things into the recycle container, you have to make sure they're clean. Wash them out and wipe them off. When you bring them out to the curb, they shouldn't be inside a plastic bag - they should be loose, making them easy to sift through.

The state goal is to recycle 75% of its waste, Hillsborough and Pinellas are setting good examples, but Haskell says it starts with each individual person.

"I just think it's really important, it might not make a difference in my lifetime but it might make a difference in my nieces and nephews lifetime,” he said. “I’m going to try and look out for the people coming behind us."

To figure out exactly what you can and can not recycle - click here. 

RELATED | Recycling plastic grocery bags causing big problems at recycling centers