New Lids Cap Off Tallahassee's Transition To No-Sort Recycling

Jan 13, 2014

The new lids are labeled with what items should be recycled
Credit Jessica Palombo / WFSU News
Old divider lids that have been removed from city residents' recycle bins await shipment back to manufacturer Toter for recycling.
Credit Jessica Palombo / WFSU News

Tallahassee residents are saying goodbye to their two-sided recycle bins as workers replace dividers with new lids this week. City officials hope to encourage more recycling by doing away with the need for sorting.

A forklift unloaded pallets from a big rig on Tallahassee’s Southside Monday morning as city Solid Waste Administrative Services Manager Rita Taylor looked on.

“They’ve just gotten a shipment of lids in and they’re taking them off and putting them in the warehouse," she explained.

Taylor says the new lids mean, when people toss an item in their recycle bin, they no longer have to stop and think about which side to throw it in. 

She says, “With that aspect of recycling in our past we have nothing but a clear future of increased recycled materials."

Every week, about a third of city residents put their recycle bin by the curb. Taylor says she hopes that number rises. And she’s encouraged by a 10 percent increase in recyclable material collected from homes since the city stopped requiring sorting in the fall. The new green lids are meant to alert people of the change.

They're labeled with "Plastic, glass, paper, metal, cardboard. No sorting needed.” Under that is a reminder that plastic bags should be kept out of the recycle bin. Those can be recycled at several stores including Publix and Wal-Mart instead.

Taylor says the switch to no-sort recycling brings Tallahassee in line with most other municipalities. The move also saves the city money on its waste service contract. And Taylor says local businesses could save money too by recycling more of their waste.

“They can reduce the number of times that their Dumpster, their garbage Dumpster, is serviced because you’re charged by each pull," she explains.

As for the old dividers being removed from people’s bins, Taylor says those are going back to the manufacturer to—what else?—be recycled.