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Tampa Bay Launches Regional Effort to Trash the Bag and Combat Recycling Confusion

Hillsborough County, Fla. (April 24, 2017) - Hillsborough County,  Pinellas County, the City of Tampa, and the City of St. Petersburg have partnered to launch a regional campaign to teach Tampa Bay residents about a universal problem - plastic bags in recycling. The regional multimedia public education campaign features a new bay-spanning video and co-branded webpage,, which will provide correct recycling information and encourage residents to keep recycling bag-free, no matter where they are in the Tampa Bay area.

Plastic bags and bagged recyclables aren't recycled because they can't be efficiently sorted by recycling equipment. Plastic bags also tangle in the sorting equipment, which causes equipment damage, creates health and safety hazards for workers, reduces the amount of recyclables that can be recovered, and increases the cost of the recycling process. All recyclables should be placed in recycling carts and municipal drop-off containers loosely, not bagged.

Utilizing reusable bags is more eco-friendly than using disposable plastic bags when shopping. Plastic bags can be reused for other purposes around the house, recycled at participating retailers, or disposed of in garbage carts. All four jurisdictions participating in the regional recycling effort use Waste-to-Energy facilities for trash disposal, turning garbage into renewable electricity.

Curbside and residential recycling systems are only designed to process certain items, including:

*             Clean and empty plastic bottles and containers

*             Clean and empty aluminum cans

*             Clean and empty glass bottles and jars

*             Dry paper, newspaper, and junk mail

*             Clean and empty metal containers

*             Clean and empty milk and juice cartons

*             Dry flattened cardboard

*             Dry paperboard boxes (such as cereal boxes)

This partnership marks the first time Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, the City of Tampa, and the City of St. Petersburg have worked together on a single regional recycling campaign. For additional information, visit or



Media Contact:  Irena Karolak, Public Information Specialist, (727) 464-4600



Media Contact: Ashley Bauman, Public Affairs Director, (813) 274-8262



Media Contact: Jeff Donnel, Municipal Recycling Manager, (727) 892-5333




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