Waste Reduction Initiatives
Working Toward a Zero-Waste Future
Pinellas County is dedicated to providing first-class solid waste management service to its residents, businesses and visitors, and is a leader in reducing landfill waste. The County’s 30-year Solid Waste Master Plan is focused on one primary goal: “Zero Waste to Landfill” by 2050.
Our solid waste management system includes: a Waste-to-Energy (WTE) facility, landfill, leachate and surface water treatment, free mobile collections and disposal of household electronics and chemicals for residents, Business Waste Assessment and Cutting Waste at Work programs for businesses, trash collection services in the Lealman community, free recycling drop-off locations, and extensive outreach and education programs.
Learn more about our Zero Waste to Landfill Goal:
Solid Waste Master Plan
Recycling minimizes the amount of garbage that is sent to the landfill and to our Waste-to-Energy (WTE) facility. For the last several years, Pinellas County has ranked among the leaders in recycling in Florida, with a rate averaging between 50-55%.
Pinellas County’s Solid Waste department offers 15 drop-off recycling collection centers for mixed recycling, such as cardboard, paper, and metal, glass and plastic containers, for the residents of unincorporated Pinellas County. The department also offers drop-off recycling collection for household electronics and chemicals at the Household Electronics and Chemical Collection Center and through mobile collection events located throughout the county. The County produces an annual Recycle Guide to educate residents on how and where to “recycle right.”
The “Where Does it Go?” search tool is an online database that includes information on what to do with 600 types of commonly discarded items. Our Solid Waste department also offers educational tours and presentations.
- Learn more about recycling
- Business owners: Learn more about recycling and waste reduction for businesses
- Learn how to reduce waste during the holidays with our Holiday and Gift Giving Guide
All the garbage produced in Pinellas County is delivered to the Pinellas County Department of Solid Waste. The County’s solid waste management system includes a Waste-to-Energy (WTE) facility as primary disposal method rather than traditional landfilling. Waste sent to the WTE facility is burned to generate up to 75 megawatts (MW) per hour of electricity. After some of the energy is used to run the facility itself, the County sells about 60 megawatts of electricity to Duke Energy. This electricity powers around 45,000 homes and businesses every day.
Pinellas County’s WTE facility is one of the largest operating in the country. Currently, WTE facilities are, by far, the most effective alternative to landfill disposal. The County’s WTE Facility generates revenue that funds the entire solid waste management system operation and reserves for future facility improvement projects. Reserves are currently being reinvested in the WTE Facility to renovate and restore it to like-new operating capacity and extend its life an additional 25 years.
Artificial Reef Program
There are 42 artificial reef sites along the gulf coast of Pinellas County from Tarpon Springs to St. Pete Beach that are built using environmentally safe construction and demolition waste. This not only keeps garbage out of the landfill, but also provides valuable underwater habitats for marine life. Items such as concrete pipes, steel beams or entire ships are carefully placed on the ocean bottom. Within about two weeks, algae and barnacles attach to the reef material. Soon, fish come to feed on these creatures. Within a year, the reef begins to support coral growth, improving fishing opportunities and creating new scuba diving destinations.