Recycling Drop-off Program

Recycling Drop-off Program 

Once drop-off centers and hours of operation for those sites are established, this page will be updated with that information.
This page will be updated periodically. Please continue to check back often for updates.

The Highlands County residential solid waste collection program has revised the way residential recycling materials are collected. This change went into effect on Aug. 18, 2021.

What has changed with the Highlands County Recycling Program?
The solid waste collection contractor will no longer collect residential recycling materials curbside from each residence. Starting soon, Highlands County will coordinate construction of three recycling drop-off centers spaced throughout the County. An additional two locations will be added later, making for a total of five recycling drop-off center locations in Highlands County. Residents (both county and city residents) will be allowed to bring clean recycling materials for drop off at these locations once opened.

Why was this change important?
This change was necessary due to the overwhelming amount of contamination entering the curbside recycling stream. Recycling contamination occurs when non-recyclable materials are placed into the recycling collection containers.
Due to a dynamic global recycling market, recycling processing facilities are not able to accept any recycling products that do not pass a stringent series of tests to make sure they are clean and not contaminated. Due to the high levels of contamination in the curbside recycling program, most of the collected material was being rejected and sent to the landfill after inspection.
This change was important to ensure items that should be recycled are recycled.

How is this change going to improve the Recycling Program?
By making this change from curbside recycling to drop-off center recycling, we will be able to collect more usable recycling material, and this will improve our overall recycling percentage in the County. This program will also be available to more residents, many of which did not have an avenue to recycle under the County’s curbside program.
During operational hours, the drop-off centers will have attendants on site to answer questions and help residents only deposit items that can be recycled. This will help ensure that almost all the items dropped off will be recycled.

What items will be recycled at the new drop-off centers?
The drop-off centers will collect most recyclable plastics, clean cardboard, aluminum cans, non-coated paper, and newspaper. There will also be a separate bin for collection of glass.
The plastic, paper, aluminum and cardboard can all be combined into one bin. Please, no plastic bags go into the recycling bins at the drop-off centers. Bags used to transport recycling to a drop-off center will need to be emptied and then disposed of as garbage (unless they are re-usable).

What are the advantages of this new recycling program?
The drop-off centers will give more Highlands County residents an option to recycle as it will be open to ALL residents, including those who live in city and town limits.
The drop-off recycling centers will also be able to collect more recycling materials than were previously collected. Paper is once again being accepted and glass will be collected separately at these facilities.
With this new program, there will now be dedicated attendants at each recycling drop-off location to help assist residents with questions and make sure the recycling materials you drop off are not contaminated by others. This will result in a higher percentage of material reaching the recycling processing facilities and eventually being re-used.
The new program will also reduce the number of trucks required to pickup garbage, reducing the wear and tear on the roadways and allowing more trucks to be dedicated to picking up garbage. This will increase the level of service provided by the garbage collection vehicles and help avoid common collection problems.

What happens now to materials put in the green cart?
The material in the green carts will be collected with the same garbage trucks that are picking up the blue garbage carts. You may now use the green cans for general garbage if you wish and put both carts out for garbage collection. All materials placed inside the green cart will need to be bagged.

What do I do with the green cart?
You can now place garbage in the green cans, just as you normally would with the blue garbage carts, and it will need to be bagged. Both carts will be collected by the same truck and the material will be disposed of in the Highlands County Landfill.
If you no longer need the green cart for garbage and wish for it to be collected, we will be announcing a program later whereby the carts can be turned back in. Please continue checking our website for updates on this program.