Tampa waste department hauls away nearly 20 tons of trash after Super Bowl

After the party comes the cleanup, and for Tampa’s waste department, that job began bright and early following the Super Bowl.

"The day after the game, 6 a.m., our team of men and women were ready," said Mark Wilfalk, the director of Tampa’s Solid Waste Management Department.

A dedicated team of dozens hit the streets to tackle what had already been identified as hotspots for pileups.

"The main hotspots where people like to go and have a good time. The SoHo District, Ybor City, and of course, Raymond James Stadium," Wilfalk said.

By Tuesday morning, Ybor City was spotless. Wilfalk said over the course of 24 hours, the amount of waste they’ve collected has nearly doubled.

"At the beginning, we were probably looking at 10 tons right off the bat, however, some of the recent data we’ve been receiving from the employees out there doing the work, I believe now we’re approaching about 20 tons of debris and material," Wilfalk said, adding most of it they hope to recycle. "If not, we’ll send that to our waste energy plant, where we’ll convert that into energy."

As for what’s going to happen with all of those cardboard cutouts fans purchased, if the stadium asks for help disposing of them, he says they’ll take care of it.

"Whatever Raymond James wants, they’re going to get," he said. "Sometimes, they might even take up the field, and we’ll have to haul that away as well."

They’ve got about a week left of cleanup – something Wilfalk believes would have been longer had the pandemic not played a role in crowd control.

"I believe it would have been, I don’t even want to think about that," he said. "It would have been that much larger."

There are still about five dozen workers clearing out the waste. The final bill is estimated to be around $50,000.