Holiday Recycling Tips from the Tampa Department of Solid Waste

The Department of Solid Waste & Environmental Program Management is providing recycling tips this Holiday to its residential customers.  Tampa residents are encouraged to be mindful of the significant increase in waste generated by the season.   The regional, #RecycleTheHolidays, social media campaign collaboration between the City of Tampa, Hillsborough County, Pinellas County and the City of St. Petersburg, encourages educational online visits to   The link outlines detailed information on acceptable and unacceptable items using traditional holiday material examples.

Image/City of Tampa

While opening presents, hosting parties, or sending season’s greetings, being good environmental stewards is important.  Use recyclable or reused items when possible.   Examples of accepted recyclables include plain wrapping paper (no glitter or foil), paper boxes, tissue paper, cardboard boxes, paper cards & envelopes, and clean, empty, dry glass bottles & jars. Recycling must be placed loose (not bagged) inside your recycling cart for collection.  Recycling contamination (unacceptable items) is rejected by our processor because it is dangerous and can shut down the sorting and processing equipment.   That means that loads collected by City vehicles along their Tampa routes will not be accepted by the facility, cannot continue the recycling process and must be disposed of as waste.  Typical contaminants include plastic bags, clothing, cords, and other items that can become tangled. “Tanglers,” as those items are called, shut down the recycling equipment for 4 hours per day on average.

“As on-line shopping increases and residents have more cardboard and other recycling opportunities, we want to be sure that they remain on Santa’s recycling ‘nice list’ this holiday season.  We want to give our customers every day, environmental, educational tips.  It is our responsibility,” said Mark Wilfalk, Director.  Fortunately, the items that cannot be recycled in the traditional sense, are converted to electricity at the McKay Bay Waste to Energy Facility where Tampa processes waste into energy, powering as many as 15,000 homes annually.pp

Customers may contact the City of Tampa Utilities Customer Center at (813) 274-8811, or visit the website at for more information.  

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