60% increase documented in tonnage of recycling materials collected in city of Sarasota in August compared to total for August 2018

City staff attributes uptick to implementation of single-stream recycling program and use of new containers

Image courtesy City of Sarasota

“It has been a little over five months since the City [of Sarasota] debuted its new 65-gallon recycling carts and switched to a single-stream recycling program for residents, and the results continue to be encouraging,” City Manager Tom Barwin reported in his Sept. 13 newsletter.

In August, the city’s Solid Waste division collected 337.4 tons of recycling materials from city residential customers, compared to 210.1 tons in August of 2018 — a 60% increase, Barwin pointed out. “As we expected, switching to the larger, easier-to-use carts and eliminating the need to separate paper and plastic materials into different bins has eliminated barriers that kept some individuals from recycling,” he continued.

City staff “has done extensive outreach” to community residents, “educating them about what can and can’t be recycled,” Barwin added. “We’ll be distributing this information to our seasonal residents, who will soon be returning to Sarasota and may have missed the launch of the single-stream program,” he noted.

“As new people move to Sarasota from places all over the country and [from] around the world, where recycling practices may greatly differ, our Solid Waste team is constantly working to educate them about the City’s regulations and proper recycling techniques,” Barwin wrote. “And those efforts are paying off!”

“Not only are we collecting more recyclables,” he continued, “but the company that runs the City’s recycling transfer facility has not reported any issues with recycling contamination — in fact, they have not yet had to reject a single load from our collection trucks due to contamination from too much non-recyclable material,” he pointed out. “That means our residents are helping everyone out by cutting down on ‘wishcycling’ — hoping something is recyclable, when it really isn’t. Mixing these items in with recyclables can slow down the process, drive up costs and even endanger the workers who sort the materials.”

For more information about what can and cannot be recycled, members of the public may look at the graphic included on the yellow top lid of each recycling cart, or they may visit SarasotaFL.gov/BeCartSmart. “There you’ll find a helpful online tool where you can simply type in an item and find out how to properly dispose of it,” Barwin noted.