What is a recycling container?
If you're within the city's Solid Waste service area, you should have a recycling container in addition to your garbage collection barrel. If for some reason your home doesn't have one, simply call us at 891.4YOU (4968) and we'll have one delivered to you. All paper, metal and plastic (except Styrofoam and plastic bags) can be combined in the container.
The recycling container, which can live right next to your garbage barrel, makes the decision to recycle a trouble-free option. Feed it often!
What is single-stream recycling?
Single-Stream isn’t anything complicated. It refers to a recycling process in which recyclable materials are collected all mixed together with no sorting required by the customer. Cans and bottles can be recycled together with newspaper, cardboard, etc. Once collected, the recyclables will be taken to a Marpan Recycle Center and separated. The same guidelines apply as they have previously except now you can place all recyclable items together in your recycle bin.
Why are we moving to single-stream?
This new process increases the ease and convenience of recycling so that more people participate and more resources are saved. We’re making recycling easier for customers — at home, at work and on the go.
When did the new process begin so I can I start mixing my recyclables?
On October 1, 2013
Will I get a new recycle barrel?
No. Beginning January 1, 2014 the City of Tallahassee had teams working their way across the city modifying existing barrels by removing the dividers and replacing the “split” lid with a single lid.
Will the change allow me to begin recycling different items than I am already recycling?
Yes. In addition to all the materials that can currently be recycled, “gable top” juice and milk cartons and juice boxes will be collected for recycling too. The City is always looking for ways to grow our recycling program and Marpan Recycling constantly seeks new markets for other materials with recycling potential.
Will the day that my recycle barrel is emptied change?
No. The service schedule for recycling will stay the same.
What are the advantages to single stream?
By eliminating sorting, recycling becomes easier and increases participation and recovery rates. In many communities, recycling has increased 30% or more by switching to single-stream recycling. This method also reduces collection costs because haulers can use single compartment trucks that can be compacted as opposed to specialized multi compartment vehicles that are more costly to operate. Over time, this greatly reduces the cost required to collect the material.
But I don’t mind sorting my materials. Isn’t it better for recycling if we separate them like we’ve been doing?
There is no need. Even long-term recyclers will appreciate the new single-stream system once they try it. However, it is still important to make absolutely sure you’re recycling only the items accepted. It is good for recycling when the ever-increasing amounts of material are kept out of the landfill and sold in good clean condition to the remanufacturing companies that make new products from recycled material. Single-stream helps to increase this volume of materials.
Won’t the paper get wet if I recycle my cans and containers with the paper? Doesn’t that make the paper non-recyclable?
The paper mills allow up to 5% moisture, so it’s not a problem. As always, we do ask that you empty and rinse all your containers to keep food contamination out of your recycling container. But moisture will not ruin the paper. Part of the recycling process for remanufacturing paper includes water, so it is not a contaminant.
How are the materials separated?
The City of Tallahassee recently contracted with Marpan Recycling Center. They have installed new sorting equipment to automatically sort the single stream materials collected. With the new equipment, there are screens and rollers to separate the material correctly.
Doesn’t this lower the value of the materials, and won’t there be a lot of contamination?
Not necessarily. One of the concerns associated with single-stream recycling is that one barrel with no separation for the material tends to encourage a person to suddenly put everything that seems recyclable in the barrel. Contamination is a challenge for single stream recycling. People tend to get a little recycle happy and may toss additional items into the recycling container. But mixing non-recyclable materials with good recyclable material jeopardizes the success of the whole program. That’s why we need you to help demonstrate that our community full of conscientious recyclers can make single-stream recycling a success.
What exactly can I put into my single-stream recycling container?
- Newspapers/ brown paper bags
- Telephone/soft cover books
- Junk mail/envelopes (all types)
- Paperboard (cereal/tissue boxes)
- Glass bottles/jars (any color)
- Metal cans (tin/steel/aluminium)
- Plastic food and beverage containers.
- Small plastic buckets (up to 5 gallon), milk crates, small toys, and plastic trays.
- Butter tubs, sour cream containers, and margarine tubs.
- Yogurt containers, cottage cheese containers
- Juice boxes, orange juice and milk cartons.
If you have a question about whether a product can be included, please call 891.4YOU (4968) for more information.
Should I put recyclables into bags then into my single-stream recycling container?
No, there is no need to place recyclables into bags before putting them into the cart. In fact, that will cause problems at the recycle processor. The recyclables should be loosely placed in the recycling container.
Are plastic bags recyclable in the City’s Program?
No. Plastic bags, plastic wrap, and other plastic “film” are not recyclable. Do not put your paper or containers in plastic bags prior to recycling. Plastic bags are a serious contaminant and litter problem at the recycling facility. Check with your grocery store to see if they accept clean grocery bags for recycling and if so, what their guidelines are. If they don’t accept them, ask them to begin a recycling program.
Can I recycle Styrofoam?
No. Styrofoam is a brand name for the material made from a type of plastic called polystyrene. Polystyrene is not recyclable in the City’s recycling program. Private shipping companies such as FEDEX and UPS will gladly take your Styrofoam.
What do I have to do in order to prepare recyclable items?
It is desirable to prepare items correctly before placing them in recycling bins.
- Flatten boxes. This saves space and lowers the operating costs for the program.
- Clean out obvious food or drink residue.