What is and isn't recyclable? Tampa city officials hold demonstration to educate residents

The city of Tampa is focusing on recycling education, giving the public an inside look into what is recyclable and what is not. 

Following an audit of recycling bins from 5,000 Tampa homes, the city discovered that not everything is being disposed of properly. Things that are not meant to be recycled are getting tossed in the recycling bin anyway, with the most common misplaced item being plastic bags. 

On Tuesday, officials held a demonstration of which items are recyclable to educate residents.

According to the city, if a recycling bin contains too much of the wrong items, the whole bin of recycling is considered unusable and will be rejected. That rejected bin of recycling will then be treated as garbage. 

It’s a problem the city is trying to avoid. They told FOX 13 that on average, only 64% of items that residents put in their recycling containers are actually considered recyclable. 

During the city’s recycling bin audit, the city studied the recycling of 5,000 homes across Tampa for five consecutive weeks.

During the course of their audit, they found that the most common items that get tossed in the recycling when they shouldn’t include: 

  • Plastic Bags/Plastic Wrap: 34 percent (2,531 counted)
  • Trash: 32 percent (2,364 counted)
  • Foam: 10 percent (738 counted)
  • Bagged Recyclables: 9 percent (693 counted)
  • Household Items/Furniture: 4 percent (279 counted)
  • Food/Liquid: 4 percent
  • Clothing/Linens: 2 percent
  • Scrap Metal/Wood: 2 percent
  • Batteries/Electronics: 1 percent
  • Tanglers/Cords/Hoses/Chains: 1 percent