Gainesville Zero Waste News

Right Size Your Trash Cart

Residents are encouraged to make less waste and save money by selecting the trash cart size that best fits their needs. Gainesville’s residential trash service rates are based on the amount of trash thrown away. This system creates a direct economic incentive for residents to recycle more and generate less waste. For example, increasing the amount you recycle so you can downsize from a 96-gallon trash cart to a 35-gallon trash cart can save you as much as $156 a year.

four black carts of different sizes lined upCity-issued trash carts come in four sizes, each with a different monthly rate based on volume. The 20-gallon trash cart (a.k.a., “mini-cart”) holds about 1 kitchen-sized bag of trash per week ($18.50/month) and is intended for single occupancy homes. The 35-gallon cart holds approximately 2 to 3 kitchen-sized bags per week ($24/month), and the 64-gallon cart holds about 4 to 5 kitchen-sized bags per week ($29.75/month). The largest size is the 96-gallon trash cart which holds about 6 to 7 bags per week ($37/month). City of Gainesville residential solid waste collection services include the weekly collection of bulk waste, recyclables, yard waste, appliance collection, and electronics recycling collection.

Please note, there are additional monthly fees for backyard collection services. New residents have 30 days after initiating utility services to request a trash cart size change without being charged an additional fee. After 30 days, there is a $13.50 service fee for changing your cart size.

black trash cart overfilled with trashContinuing to use a trash cart that is undersized for your household needs can lead to overfilled or overflowing trash carts. Trash carts that are overloaded with waste can result in spillage when the cart gets emptied, producing litter along your neighborhood streets. Overfilled trash carts also are more likely to attract unwanted wildlife and pest to your home. Remember to keep your trash cart lid closed when not in use, and cart lids should be fully-closed when setting your cart out for collection. Excess or extra trash must be placed in Official Yellow Trash Bags and set out for collection curbside near your trash cart.

By separating out accepted recyclables materials from your trash and recycling them in your orange and blue recycle bins, you can cut your waste down by as much as half. Visit CityofGainesville/Recycle to find out more on what items can be recycled and service guidelines. Contact the Solid Waste Division at (352) 334-2330 or to request a trash cart size change or request additional recycle bins for your home.

5 Must-Know Answers to Your Recycling Questions

You can do your part to recycle correctly by reviewing the list of accepted materials and properly preparing your recyclables for collection. When recyclables are prepared correctly for collection, it helps to reduce the cost of processing the recyclables and increases the marketability of the recycled materials. Below are a few common questions and answers when it comes to properly preparing your recyclables.

recyclables inside a clear plastic bag1. Can I put my recyclables in plastic bags? No. Items should be left loose in your recycle bins, with the exception of shredded paper being placed in closed brown paper bags. Plastic bags become entwined in the machinery, belts, and conveyors at the recycling sorting facility, which lead to shutdowns until the plastic bags can be removed. These shutdowns decrease operational efficiency and increase the cost of processing materials.

2. Should I take off lids and caps before recycling containers? Yes. Smaller lids, such as bottle caps and water bottle lids, should be removed and disposed of with your garbage. Larger plastic lids from laundry detergent bottles and plastic tubs can be placed loose in the blue bin. However, larger metal lids from glass jars can be rinsed off and placed back on once containers have been fully emptied.

3. Can I recycle boxes with tape or labels on them? Yes. Boxes with tape or labels on them can still be processed for recycling; however, the more tape you can remove, the better, as it will increase the material's recyclability. Remember to break down all your boxes flat when setting them out for collection.

household batteries and a light bulb with a red x over top of them4. Are batteries and light bulbs accepted for recycling in my blue bin? No. Any type of battery or bulb is not accepted for recycling in your curbside recycle bins. For the proper disposal and recycling of household hazardous waste, residents in the City of Gainesville should take these materials to one of the Alachua County facilities equipped and trained to manage this type of material. For more information, visit online at Alachua County’s Hazardous Waste Collection or call 352-334-0440.

5. Do milk and juice cartons go in the blue bin or orange bin? Blue bin. Even though most cartons are valued for the recyclable unprinted paper middle layer within the carton, they get sorted at the processing facility like containers, such as bottles and cans – so in the blue bin they go. Don’t forget to remove caps and straws.

For more recycling information, visit CityofGainesville/Recycle or call 352-334-2330.