Business Waste Reduction & Recycling FAQ

Have you ever wondered what options are available for businesses regarding waste reduction, reuse, and recycling? Look no further!

How do I get recycling collection service for my business?

Start by calling your city/town solid waste department to see if they have a contract for recycling. If they do not, contact a recycling collection provider.

Is my business too small to recycle?

No business is too small to recycle! 60% of businesses in Pinellas County have between 1-9 employees. Start by calling your city/town solid waste department to see if they have a contract for recycling. If they do not, contact a recycling collection provider.

I have a material I no longer need. What do I do with it?

Where Does It Go? Search Tool

Visit our “Where Does it Go” Search Tool. If you don’t see the item, please “suggest it as a new item.” We will research your suggestion and add the material to the Search Tool. While many materials do not belong in your mixed recycling container, the material can still be recycled.

Industry Waste Reduction: Healthcare

Common regulated wastes in the healthcare industry may include waste pharmaceuticals, x-ray chemicals/ film, medical or lab analysis equipment/ process waste, cleaning supplies, paints, fluorescent lamps, electronics, and batteries. Some of these items must be managed as hazardous waste and others have the potential to be recycled or reused!

Healthcare reduction, reuse & recycling tips:

Industry Waste Reduction: Lodging

Is your business a part of the lodging industry?

Do you own/operate a hotel, motel, resort, B&B or private vacation rental? Common wastes may include cleaning supplies, paints, pesticides, fluorescent lamps, electronics, soap & food waste. Some of these items must be managed as hazardous waste and others, such as food waste and soap, have the potential to be recycled!

While these materials are not accepted in your traditional single-stream recycling container, they CAN be recycled through other methods.

Please visit our “Where Does it Go” Search Tool to see your recycling and disposal options for the wastes you generate.

Lodging reduction & recycling tips:

  • Use refillable soap containers, instead of bar soap, to decrease waste.
  • Consider staffing buffet areas with servers to provide portion control.
  • Take note on where most waste is created and look at reduction opportunities, such as:
  • areas where reusable cups, plates and silverware can be used instead of plastics or
  • consider going paperless by sending digital copies of receipts and invoices to customers
  • Consider only washing guest linens and towels upon request and donate linens when they are no longer usable.
  • Donate paints to places such as Habitat for Humanity.
  • Work with suppliers who purchase products that are sustainably sourced.

Waste Reduction: Cardboard

Is your trash overflowing with cardboard?

Recycling cardboard is easy and a great way to save space in your dumpster! Consider a cardboard-only container and break the boxes down to save space. You may be able to reduce the size of your garbage dumpster and frequency of collection.

Recycled cardboard is turned into new items such as paper towels, tissues and printing paper. This can help save valuable resources, such as trees, and help to reach your company’s sustainability goals.

Please visit our “Where Does it Go” Search tool to see your options.

Cardboard recycling tips:

  • Clean, dry cardboard only
  • No styrofoam, plastic wrap, or film
  • Flatten cardboard to save space

Waste Reduction: Foam Products

Does your business throw away foam packaging products, also known as expanded polystyrene foam?

Polystyrene is used for a variety of products including shipping materials, carry-out containers/cups and coolers.

While not accepted in your traditional recycling container, extruded polystyrene foam, such as foam containers, CAN be recycled through specific polystyrene recyclers.

Please visit our “Where Does it Go” Search Tool to see your options for “Styrofoam” recycling.

Polystyrene reduction tips:

  • Use suppliers that can offer biodegradable or compostable products
  • Work with suppliers that can use less polystyrene when shipping
  • Take note on where most polystyrene waste is created and look at reduction opportunities (ex., breakrooms where reusable cups can be used instead of polystyrene)

Waste Reduction: Organics

Does your business throw away organic material including food scraps and bakery items?

Organic material can be processed to create a nutrient rich soil. Organics make up about 30% of what we throw away and have the potential to be composted instead. Food waste is not ideal for Waste-to-Energy in Pinellas County and keeping these materials out of landfills helps reduce/prevent the release of methane (a greenhouse gas) when food waste breaks down. This material should NOT be placed in your traditional or single-stream recycling.

Please visit our “Where Does it Go” Search Tool to see your options for “Food Waste” recycling.

Organics recycling tips:

  • Some haulers provide small containers that save space and allow all types of businesses to participate in organics recycling.
  • Even if your business does not qualify for organics hauling services, you can start composting on-site.
  • Visit: https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home for on-site composting information.

Waste Reduction: Other Plastics

Does your business throw away various types of plastic?

Many businesses generate various plastics such as shrink wrap, acrylics, industrial plastic and plastic scrap as a waste. These types of plastics do not belong in your traditional single-stream recycling, but some of these plastics CAN be recycled. Plastics can be turned into new products such as clothing, carpeting and lumber.

Please visit our “Where Does it Go” Search Tool to see your options for “Plastics” recycling.

Plastic reduction & recycling tips:

  • Ask your supplier if they have any plastic shipping material reduction or substitution alternatives.
  • Consider reusing your plastic waste in your manufacturing process by utilizing new equipment, such as a re-grinder or pelletizer.
  • Consider replacing a lower grade plastic with a more recyclable plastic in your manufacturing process, ultimately making the product or waste byproduct easier to recycle.
  • Consider manufacturing your product from recycled plastic pellets, thus helping to keep the material in a closed loop.

Waste Reduction: Toner and Ink Cartridges

Ink Cartridge

Does your business throw away toner or ink cartridges?

Toner and ink cartridges can be reused when manufacturing new cartridges. Many cartridge recyclers offer pick-up, mail-in or drop-off programs. By recycling your printer cartridges, you conserve energy and natural resources. This material should NOT be placed in your mixed recycling container. If the cartridge isn’t empty, an accurate waste determination must be made prior to disposal.

Please visit our “Where Does it Go” Search Tool to see your options for “Printer Cartridge” recycling.

Cartridge reduction tips:

  • Use electronic correspondence for customers and employees to reduce printing.
  • Change printed agreements and paper documents to electronic documents that use e-signatures.
  • Create a work atmosphere that discourages printing unless it is completely necessary.

Have Questions?

Call (727) 464-7500, email bwa@pinellas.gov, or click the Live Chat button below.