After six months without curbside recycling in Jacksonville, the service is back up and running for Duval County residents.
If you haven’t recycled in the past six months, or want to start now that service is back, this article details what you need to know to get you up to speed.
Because recycling is a regional business, which means different cities have different rules, it can be a bit confusing trying to figure out what can and cannot be properly recycled.
Let’s start with the basics. There are three basic rules to follow in trying to recycle more effectively.
Recycle bottles, cans, paper and cardboard.
Empty, clean and dry.
No bulk plastic bags or bagged recyclables.
IS IT RECYCLABLE?
The following elements can go to your recycling bin:
Plastic bottles and containers. This includes single-use food and drink containers, but also bottles of shampoo, shower gel, lotion, laundry detergent, cleaning products, etc.
If you are returning a plastic container, there should be a number printed inside the recycling arrows. Recycle only numbers 1 to 3, 5 and 7.
Cans, aluminum and steel. This includes canned sodas, soup, tuna, beans, and even junk larger than the size of a credit card.
Paper represents nearly 30% of the waste generated each year, according to Republic Services. You can recycle envelopes, office paper, junk mail, greeting cards and file folders. You can also include newspaper inserts, catalogs, paperbacks and brochures. If it’s smaller than a credit card, throw it in the trash.
Cardboard from your Amazon packages, bulletin board, and file folders. Pizza boxes are fine too, just make sure you don’t leave any toppings or leftover food.
You can find a more complete list here.
DRAIN CLEAN AND DRY
It’s a big. According to Waste Management, 25% of its recycling shipments are contaminated with food waste. Be sure to thoroughly clean and dry your recyclables before placing them in your recycling bin. Food, mold or water contamination can ruin your good efforts or the good efforts of others.
This video from solid waste collection company Republic Services breaks down the concept in a simple one-minute video.
NO PLASTIC BAGS
When plastic bags are thrown into a curbside bin, they end up in a recycling facility where they wreak havoc on machinery.
Clean, dry plastic bags can be recycled at many local retailers. To visit www.plasticfilmrecycling.org to find a pickup point near you. Be sure to check with your local depot to see what is and isn’t accepted.
Pro tip: Opting for reusable grocery bags or eco-friendly paper bags would significantly reduce unnecessary waste.
Not so fun fact: in one year, Americans use 100 billion plastic bags. To put this level of consumption into perspective, the average American uses 365 plastic bags per year. In Denmark, people use an average of four plastic bags per year.
The following information is specific to Duval County.
NOTHING SMALLER THAN A CREDIT CARD
Some things are just too small and too problematic at the recycling facility to throw away with your [emptied, rinsed, and dried!] milk jugs. Throw small pieces like bottle caps, pieces of paper and soda can pellets in the trash.
STYROMFOAM OR POLYSTYRENE CONTAINERS
Egg cartons, fast food take-out boxes, bulk packaging – this airy, expanded material creates bulk and volume at the landfill.
For things like packing peanutscall your nearest UPS or other shippers. Some of them salvage packing peanuts of all sizes, shapes and colors for reuse.
**Much pPlastic utensils and some disposable straws contain polystyrene.
BIO-MEDICAL WASTE is not recyclable. The City of Jacksonville urges people to place small amounts of needles or lancets in a hard plastic or metal container (like a coffee can).
Do not use a transparent container or a glass container. Secure the cover with heavy-duty tape. Throw the container in the middle of your trash can.
For proper disposal of any biomedical waste, please consult your healthcare provider or the Duval County Department of Health at (904) 253-1280.
Used oil is prohibited by law in landfills.
Never pour used motor oil into garbage cans, on the ground or into street drains. It can poison drinking water.
One gallon of improperly disposed of used oil could pollute a million gallons of fresh water.
Many local oil retailers accept used motor oil from residents for recycling free of charge (maximum 5 gallons per consumer per trip). You can organize the pick-up of the main used devices by calling (904) 630-CITY (2489) before placing them on the sidewalk. Remove or secure all doors.
Single-use batteries can be recycled at many places or through mail-in programs, but not in your curbside trash can. The same goes for rechargeable batteries and car batteries.
Confused about all the types and sizes of batteries? Check Owner’s Guide to Battery Recycling and Disposal to learn more about how to properly dispose of the various batteries commonly used at home.
Although many plastics can be recycled, the particular type of plastic bubble wrap cannot be recycled because the thin film can tangle in machinery.
Many big-box retailers like Target, Walmart, and Lowe’s collect bubble wrap and other packaging materials. Call a store near you for
The City of Jacksonville says green, brown or clear glass bottles and jars can be recycled, but the lids should be discarded.
All broken glass should be wrapped and sealed in newspaper or other protective covering and placed only in the garbage.
FLUORESCENT BULBS AND TUBES
These are considered hazardous materials. You can dispose of these items free of charge at the Household Hazardous Waste Facility. The facility is located at 2675 Commonwealth Avenue.
CABLES AND WIRES
Old clothes, bedding, and towels that are still in good condition are best suited to Goodwill, The Salvation Army, Hubbard House, or another thrift store or shelter.
Unwanted toys are also best given away.
It is illegal to throw trash and debris on vacant lots, roads, streets, sewers and ditches. To report an illegal deposit, you can call (904) 630-CITY (2489).
Wish-cycling is the act of putting a non-recyclable item in the recycling bin with the to hope that it will be recycled. But tossing random items into a recycling bin without really thinking about them will likely ruin the well-meaning efforts of others.
NEED TO REQUEST A COLLECTION OR REPORT A PROBLEM?
Call (904) 630-CITY (2489) or visit the MyJax online customer service website at myjax.custhelp.com.