Make recycling popular by making it easier

We already know recycling helps reduce waste and prevents good materials from ending up in a landfill. It's what we don't know that can make recycling frustrating, inefficient, and more costly. Let's make it easier and make recycling more viable in the process.

To all the recyclers out there, I applaud your efforts. You already take an extra bit of time to separate your paper, plastic, metal, and glass refuse from the rest of the trash so it can be reclaimed and reused as something else. But beyond the water bottles and soda cans, remembering what else gets recycled and in what condition your recycling facility expects it can get a little overwhelming. Plastics can be especially dubious due to the wide variety of plastic types. Even if you get that sorted out, you might be left wondering what to do with the unmarked bottle caps. Cardboard is a paper product, right? Can it go in the recycling bin?

Here's how you can make it easier for yourself (and anyone else you'd encourage to recycle). The internet is a wonderful tool for finding the specifics of your local recycling services, everything from costs, pick-up times, and most importantly, what goes in the bin!  Residents of Tampa should already have curbside recycling at their residence.  Luckily, the recycling business has gotten a lot better at handling all the materials since I first started recycling, so there's no need to sort by material any more. You can just toss all your recyclables into your blue bin and place it on the curb where the recycling truck driver will be able to see it. And, thanks to someone thoughtful at the Department of Solid Waste, they've gone ahead and created a PDF you can print out and hang near your recycling container inside. For most items you can look at the print-out and know what goes in and what doesn't. For any lingering questions, there's a page of FAQs with the details.

Some quick recycling tips for Tampa residents to remember: