NewsSarasota, Manatee County


'Plastic bags do not belong in recycling': Pinellas County works to improve recycling program

Posted at 7:52 PM, Oct 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-26 08:38:40-04

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — The Pinellas County Department of Solid Waste has hired Kessler Consulting to do a three-week-long recyclable materials composition study.

The purpose is to study the types and amounts of materials put into recycling bins in Pinellas County and learn how to make the process easier for everyone.

"We’re bringing in recyclable material from 18 different cities and we’re looking at the type and amount of material and we’re adding up the percentages. It’ll help us educate the public and with our contracts," said Stephanie Watson, recycling and outreach program manager for Pinellas County Solid Waste.

The only things that can be recycled are metal cans, glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles and jugs, paper, cardboard and cartons.

Those items are sorted and sold to companies who use them to make new products.

But Watson says they run into many problems when people try to recycle things that cannot be recycled like plastic bags that get tangled in the equipment.

"Plastic bags are our biggest obstacle. They do not belong in recycling. You can take them back to stores but put your materials loose into the bins," said Watson.

Things that also don’t belong in recycling bins are cords, Christmas lights, carpet, batteries and printers.

"Also anything that is smaller than a fist, those items are too small. So plastic flossers, Keurig cups, plastic straws and forks. Things like that don’t belong," said Watson.

The county wants to make sure people only recycle what does belong so their citizens' efforts aren't wasted.