Recycling News

Recycle Your Holiday Lights at Free Drop-off Locations

Are you looking to refresh your holiday decorations but don’t know what to do with all those old, broken, burned-out, impossibly tangled sets of holiday lights leftover from last year?

Good News! The City of Gainesville is ready to help you recycle those old sets of holiday lights. Old sets of holiday lights can be dropped for recycling now through the end of January at the City of Gainesville Public Works Facility located at 405 NW 39th Ave. No set is too tangled to be recycled!

✅ ACCEPTED: Light strings with incandescent, LED, and “icicle” lights, along with wires and attached bulbs.

bundle of old style wired holiday lights

❌ NOT ACCEPTED: Fluorescent tubes, Compact Fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), Bubble lights, Liquid-filled lights, or Neon lights (These items can be recycled at Alachua County’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center).

DROP-OFF DETAILS: Look for the Holiday Lights recycling container just outside the main office doors. Please only drop off lights during daylight hours and remove light strings from packing material and bags before dropping them off for recycling.

Holiday lights can also be recycled at any one of the five Alachua County Rural Collection Centers and the Alachua County Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center. For more information on these drop-off locations, visit Alachua County Drop-Off Centers.

Replacing old incandescent lights can save you money on your electric bill, and new LED lights use 80-90% less energy than incandescent bulbs. LED lights also last up to 100,000 hours versus only 3,000 hours from incandescent lights.

Reminder: ❌ Do NOT place holiday lights in your home recycle bins.

For more information, visit cityofgainesville.org/recycle or call 352-334-2330.


How Recycling Can Help Mitigate Climate Change

At first glance, recycling might not seem closely tied to global warming or climate change. However, recycling is one of the easiest, hands-on choices you can take to reduce your carbon footprint, preserve vital natural resources, and protect the health of humans, wildlife, and our planet.

REDUCING GREENHOUSE GASES


white smoke come out of multiple industrial smoke stacksRecycling saves energy resulting in fewer fossil fuels burned and significantly fewer greenhouse gases emitted into our atmosphere. The extraction and transport of virgin materials from forests, oil reserves, and mines is an energy-intensive operation. Processing recycled materials requires dramatically less energy and produces far fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Recycling also has the benefit of sending less trash to landfills, which reduces the opportunity for decomposition and the release of methane. Methane gas is 25 times more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide and is a major factor impacting climate change. Additionally, recycling, especially paper materials, reduces the clear-cutting of forests in order to make new paper products. Trees capture and store large amounts of carbon dioxide (the most prevalent greenhouse gas), as well as convert carbon dioxide into oxygen.

CONSERVING RESOURCES


green forest with many treesRecycling reduces the strain on our natural resources, enables us to use resources more efficiently, and conserves materials for future generations. Nonrenewable resources (oil, metals, etc.) have a finite supply, and many renewable resources (wood, freshwater, etc.) are being exhausted faster than they can replenish. However, we continue to bury or burn more than two-thirds of our waste every day in the United States. By recycling materials, we can help to fill the constant demand for materials and prevent this depletion of our natural resources. In addition, recycling helps to protect natural resources locally by allowing communities to stretch the life of their current landfills and avoid using valuable land to build new landfills.

POLLUTION PREVENTION


tons of plastic debris washed up on the beachRecycling plays an integral part in helping to reduce air, water, and land pollution. Toxins entering our air and groundwater systems are greatly lessened because of the energy savings resulting from recycling and the recycling of many household hazardous waste. Recycling also benefits our oceans and beaches by repurposing plastic products into new materials. Estimates are that as much as eight million tons of plastic pollutants end up in our oceans each year. That’s equivalent to a full garbage truckload of plastics per minute dumped off a pier.

ACTION PLAN

thumbnail image of cover of recycable quick print listUnderstanding how recycling impacts climate change is a step towards creating your action plan to boost your recycling participation at home and work. Take a few moments to review Gainesville’s current list of accepted and not accepted materials for recycling. Maximize your recycling efforts by finding out what recyclables are going into your trash and start recycling those materials from now on. Strive to eliminate contaminants from the materials you are setting out for recycling. When contaminants make their way into the recycling stream, it cost more to process materials, causes damage to expensive sorting equipment, and devalues the marketability of the recyclables.

What Is Gainesville Recycling?

In 2020, approximately 9,728,000 pounds of recyclables were collected from Gainesville homes through the City's curbside recycling program. Below is a quick look at the percentage of recyclable materials collected curbside in the City of Gainesville for 2020. Please note that values are based on weight not volume (i.e., glass containers weigh a lot more than plastics bottles).

pie chart of percentage of materials collected by material type

Mixed Paper includes: paperboard, newspapers, magazines, office paper, junk mail, paper bags and phone books.

What Is the Market Value of Recycled Materials?

Here’s a quick look at the estimated current market value of recycled materials for the Gainesville area. Please note the market value of recycled materials fluctuate significantly depending on the demand and quality of the materials.

First quarter 2020 average market value of gainesville area recycled materials per ton, aluminum cans $996, plastics $280, steel cans $89, cardboard $60, mixed paper $1, glass containers -$23, aspetics and cartons -$48

 

Community Recycling Videos

Take a Quick Tour of the Alachua County Materials Recovery Facility

Overview of Alachua County's Recycling Programs