Waste Reduction

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Road to Zero Waste

The City of St. Petersburg is committed to delivering progressive, sustainable policies and effective programs to address city environmental, economic, and social challenges. The City has made a goal to be a zero-waste city by 2050. 

Impact of Reducing Waste

  • A reduction in the amount of waste produced could help reduce the cost of disposing solid waste and therefore reduce the need for service rate increases.
  • Less trash means cleaner communities.
  • Reduced waste decreases the burden on the planet and helps support a more sustainable future.

Every resident, visitor, and business has a responsibility to help reduce the amount of waste produced in St. Pete. By making small everyday changes, everyone can help decrease the amount of waste that ends up in the trash, where it can produce greenhouse gases and other pollution.

Good Neighbor Guide: Waste Reduction     Minimizing Plastics for Businesses

Steps to Reducing Personal Waste

Keep valuable items out of the trash and help St. Pete achieve its waste reduction goal for 2050. The classic 3 Rs, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, have been updated to 6 Rs to help reduce waste:

1. Refuse

The most effective way to reduce waste is to not create it in the first place. Refuse products that are destined for the trash after one use. Many products, like plastics, can last for centuries without breaking down. St. Petersburg’s straw ordinance has helped reduce waste, litter and plastic pollution in our creeks and ocean. Learn more about avoiding single-use plastics.

  • Avoid products like plastic straws, plastic lids, plastic bags (including produce and snack bags), beverage containers and coffee cups, sleeves and pods. 
  • Skip single-use items and replace them with personal reusables whenever possible. For example: water bottles, coffee cups, reusable plates, cups, utensils, napkins, snack bags, and food containers can all be reusable. 
  • Bring reusable containers to shop at package-free bulk stores. 

2. Reduce

When it’s not possible to refuse, reduce consumption of items that have excess packaging or products you simply don't need. Plan ahead to avoid trashy purchases made out of convenience or urgency.

  • Avoid over-buying at the grocery store and minimize food waste through at-home composting.
  • Opt out of paper mail by signing up for paperless communications wherever possible.
  • Choose items with minimal or no packaging, such as bar soap or bulk food, and buy local to reduce the impact of packing and shipping.

3. Repair

When possible, try to repair items that are broken. It saves money and reduces waste.

  • Mend clothing, shoes, furniture, and household items instead of throwing them away.
  • Find alternative uses for items instead of putting them in the trash.

4. Reuse

Reuse products to save money, reduce waste, and preserve valuable resources.

  • Purchase rechargeable batteries, such as camera batteries that can be recharged through a USB cord.
  • Donate to and shop at thrift stores for items like clothing, shoes, books, cookware, furniture, and appliances. 
  • Participate in community swap meets to get what you need and give the things you don’t use anymore to someone who will give them new life. 
  • Use share programs for cars, bicycles, equipment, clothing, and more to avoid buying things that you rarely use. 

5. Recycle

When you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse, make sure to recycle to divert waste from the trash.

  • Participate in St. Pete's Recycling Program and make sure you're recycling correctly—many of the things that are commonly dropped in the recycling bin actually end up going to the landfill.
  • Attend a free Household Hazardous Waste drop-off event.
  • Buy products made from recycled materials. Look for items with “post-consumer” material to save the natural resources like trees, water, and energy used to produce new products

6. Rot

Rot refers to composting, which is the natural process of recycling organic material, like kitchen and yard waste, which breaks down into a usable, nutrient-rich fertilizer.


Reduce Your Use Tampa Bay

Individuals and businesses can take the pledge to reduce waste from single-use plastics. Learn more at www.reduceyourusetampabay.org/

Reward Waste Reduction Action

Residents and visitors can make intentional decisions about where and how to spend their money to push for waste reduction, and can encourage their favorite local businesses to adopt policies and practices that decrease their business and customer waste.