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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why should I recycle?

    There are many reasons why we should recycle. One is to conserve landfill space and thereby extend the life of a landfill and help to reduce the number and size of landfills. Secondly, by recycling, we preserve the natural resources available to produce products from raw material. Thirdly, recycling conserves energy – it takes less energy and resources to produce items from recycled materials than it does from virgin material. Fourthly, recycling can save you money.

    The City of Lakeland spends more than $2.5 million a year to dispose of waste generated by City residents and businesses. Reducing waste reduces landfill disposal fees which in turn mean a savings to City solid waste customers. Lastly, by recycling at home and work, we are helping to meet the State of Florida’s 2020 long term goal of recycling at least 75% of the waste that would otherwise be disposed of in landfills or incineration facilities.

  • What can I recycle curbside?

    All molded or rigid plastic products #1-#7, phone books, paperback books, magazines, newspaper, office paper, junk mail and other fiber products, cereal boxes, pizza boxes, juice and other drink boxes, steel, aluminum and aerosol cans, corrugated cardboard, aluminum foil and pie plates, rigid plastics such as clean 5 gallon buckets and pails.

  • When is my curbside collection day?

    Curbside recycling collection occurs once every week on the same day as your garbage collection.  Please refer to our collection day map to identify your collection day.

  • What happens if my container is damaged, lost or stolen?

    Automated containers are property of the City of Lakeland and are assigned to a specific customer address. Because every container has a serial number and is electronically tagged, containers can be traced. Container problems associated with normal wear and tear will be repaired by the City. However, containers that are stolen or damaged through neglect or misuse will be replaced at the property owners’ expense.

    Residents are responsible for routine maintenance, including keeping the containers clean, removing the containers from the street after collection, and storing the containers in a safe place.

  • What happens when there is a holiday?

    There are six holidays that could impact your collection schedules: New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    View the holiday schedule for residential service.

  • Do I need to rinse or clean my recyclables before putting into recycle cart?

    All recyclable material should be empty of all liquids, solid foods and should be placed in the cart as clean as possible.

  • What if the cardboard I have does not fit into my automated recycling container?

    Excessive amounts of cardboard can be flattened, cut smaller or folded and must be put inside the recycling container for collection.

  • What materials cannot be placed in the recycling container?

    Some examples of items/materials that cannot be placed in recycling containers include household garbage, food waste, diapers, household batteries, electronics, gas canisters used in cooking, sharps, hazardous waste, yard waste, shredded paper, plastic bags nor Styrofoam.

  • What should I do with shredded paper?

    Shredded paper can be recycled and should be placed in a paper bag and closed securely prior to placing in your recycling cart to prevent items from being blown into the street.

  • Can I recycle plastic grocery bags and Plastic Wrap?

    You may not place plastic grocery bags or plastic wrap in your blue recycling cart.

    Local grocery stores have recycling containers located outside their stores for collecting and recycling plastic bags. In addition to plastic bags, Publix Super Markets will accept the following, clean and dry plastic materials in their recycling bins. Plastic packaging from toilet paper, napkins and paper towels, overwrap from shipping cases (such as plastic wrap from a case of water), dry cleaning bags/protective plastic and newspaper sleeves.

  • Can I recycle styrofoam?

    No. The City of Lakeland can no longer recycle any form of styrofoam.

    Publix Supermarkets do offer styrofoam recycling for styrofoam trays and egg cartons.

  • Should I bag my recyclables before placing them in the recycling container?

    Recyclables should be placed loose into your recycling container. Except shredded paper, shredded paper should e put in a paper bag for recycling.

  • How do I dispose of hazardous waste such as motor oil and filters, antifreeze, gasoline, brake fluid, paints and stains and fluorescent lamps? How about electronic waste?

    Household chemical and electronic waste is accepted free of charge at the Polk County North Central Landfill, located at 7399 Decastro Road, Winter Haven, Florida.

    For more information contact Polk County Waste Resource Management Division at 863.284.4319.

  • Where do I place my wheeled recycling container on collection day?

    Move your container out for collection before 6 AM on your collection day or the night before.

    Place the container at the end of your driveway, at the edge of the street, or next to the curb with the arrow on the lid of the container pointing toward the street and away from your property.

    3 Feet

    Keep the container at least 3 feet from other containers, mailboxes, hydrants, low hanging trees, parked cars and utility poles, and away from overhead obstructions, so trucks can easily access the container.

    City Code requires that on or before 6 AM following the day of collection, all garbage and recycling containers must be returned to a place of proper storage.

  • I have difficulty wheeling my cart to the curb – does the city provide “front door” service for recycling?

    Assisted or "front door" service for both garbage and recycling collection can be provided to City residents that submit a completed medical waiver collection form.  Please call our office to talk to a customer service representative at 863.834.8773.

  • I don’t want to recycle.

    While the reasons for recycling are many, recycling can save you, and others, in the cost of providing trash collection service – consider that for every ton of garbage disposed of in the County landfill, it costs the City approximately $36, yet for every ton of recyclables delivered to the City’s processor, the City receives approx. $20. The City of Lakeland spends approximately $2.9 million in disposal fees annually to landfill the waste collected citywide. With single stream recycling now offered to Lakeland residents, trash generation volumes have the potential of being reduced significantly.

    If you prefer to return the cart to the City of Lakeland, we will accommodate such request, however the monthly service fee will remain on your bill.