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Do Your Part

Waste Reduction

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

Why is reducing waste so important?

  • A reduction in the amount of waste produced could help reduce the cost of disposing solid waste and therefore mitigate service rate increases.
  • Less trash means cleaner communities.
  • Lessening the burden on the planet for resources.

Every resident, visitor and business have the responsibility to help reduce the amount of waste produced in St. Pete. By using the five R’s, we can all help decrease the waste that can ends up in our landfills where it can produce greenhouse gases and other pollution.

Keep valuable items out of the landfill and help St. Pete achieve its Waste Reduction Goal for 2050. We all know and love the 3 R’s: “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” Now there are 6 R’s to help reduce waste:

  1. Refuse products that are destined for the landfill after one use.
  2. Reduce items that have excess packaging or products you simply don’t need.
  3. Repair items in your home when possible, don’t just toss them.
  4. Reuse products to reduce waste and save money.
  5. Recycle if you can’t refuse, reduce, or reuse items.
  6. Rot and return nutrients to the soil by composting.


The most effective way to reduce waste is to not create it in the first place. Refuse products that are destined for the landfill after one use. Many products, like plastics, can last for centuries in a landfill without breaking down.

Take Action:

  • 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 bring your own when possible. For example, many coffee shops will give you a discount for bringing your own cup.
  • For meals you take with you, such as your lunch, bring your own reusable plates, cups, utensils, napkins, snack bags, food containers, etc.
  • Shop at package-free bulk stores – don’t forget to bring your own reusable containers!


When you cannot refuse, reduce your consumption where possible.

Take Action:

  • Minimize your food waste at home and beyond and only buy what you will eat.
  • Opt out of junk and paper mail by signing up for Catalog Choice, e-billing and e-statements.
  • Choose items with minimal or no packaging, such as bar soap or bulk food, and buy local when possible.
  • Use reusable water bottles, shopping bags and containers to avoid plastic pollution.

Did you know, St. Petersburg’s straw ordinance has helped reduce waste, litter and plastic pollution in our creeks and ocean? Learn more here.


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

Take Action:

  • Mend clothing, shoes, furniture and household items instead of throwing them away.


Reusing products will help you save money, reduce waste and preserve valuable resources.

Take Action:

  • Purchase rechargeable batteries, such as camera batteries that can be recharged through a USB.
  • Donate to and shop at thrift stores for items like clothing, shoes, books, cookware, furniture and appliance.
  • Mend clothing, shoes, furniture and household items instead of throwing them away.
  • Use share programs for cars, bicycles, equipment, clothing and more to avoid buying things that you rarely use.


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

Take Action:

  • Participate in St. Pete's Recycling Program.
  • Learn what can and can’t be placed in your recycling bins to keep our recyclables clean and usable at
  • 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.
  • Attend a free Household Hazardous Waste drop-off event. Learn more here.
  • Doing a home remodel? Construction and demolition debris is reusable or recyclable. Work with the City’s Construction Demolition Diversion (CDD) program to ensure this valuable material ends up in the right place.


The final R, rot, means creating a valuable resource from food waste and organics such as newspaper. Recycle your fruit, vegetables and yard trimmings into nutrients for your soil by home composting.

Take Action:

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