Trash the Bag

Pinellas County joins regional recycling effort to “trash the bag”

City of St. Petersburg, City of Tampa and Hillsborough County among partners

Maintaining its commitment to practicing superior environmental stewardship, Pinellas County has joined a regional effort to promote recycling of plastic and encourage residents to “trash the bag.”

The multimedia public education campaign features a new bay-spanning video and co-branded webpage,, which will provide recycling information and encourage residents to keep recycling bag-free, no matter where they are in the Tampa Bay area. Partners in this effort include City of St. Petersburg, City of Tampa and Hillsborough County.

Plastic bags and bagged recyclables aren’t recycled because they can’t be efficiently sorted by recycling equipment. Plastic bags also get tangled in the sorting equipment, which causes equipment damage, creates health and safety hazards for workers, reduces the amount of recyclables that can be recovered, and increases the cost of the recycling process. All recyclables should be placed in recycling carts and municipal drop-off containers loosely, not bagged.

Using reusable bags is more eco-friendly than using disposable plastic bags when shopping. Plastic bags can be reused for other purposes around the house, recycled at participating retailers, or disposed of in garbage carts.

All four jurisdictions participating in the regional recycling effort use Waste-to-Energy facilities for trash disposal, turning garbage into renewable electricity.

Curbside and residential recycling systems are only designed to process certain items, including:

  • Clean and empty plastic bottles and containers
  • Clean and empty aluminum cans
  • Clean and empty glass bottles and jars
  • Dry paper, newspaper, and junk mail
  • Clean and empty metal containers
  • Clean and empty milk and juice cartons
  • Dry flattened cardboard
  • Dry paperboard boxes (such as cereal boxes)

This partnership marks the first time Pinellas County, Hillsborough County, the City of Tampa, and the City of St. Petersburg have worked together on a single regional recycling campaign. For additional information on recycling in Pinellas County, visit

This initiative is a key component of Pinellas County’s Strategic Plan: reducing, reusing and recycling resources including energy, water and solid waste.