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Waste and Recycling FAQs

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10 Environmental Loop S.
Winter Haven, FL 33880

Office Hours of Operation:
Monday through Friday:
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Household Hazardous Waste
Hours of Operation:
Friday: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Saturday: 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Carts are available to all customers who would like to participate in the county’s recycling program, but you must call or email to request one. Residents may call customer care at Polk County Waste & Recycling at (863) 284-4319 or submit a request online.

  • Complete the lease application or visit Waste and Recycling’s Administrative Office. Each household may have one additional cart.
  • Hand-deliver your notarized application and payment to the Waste and Recycling Administrative Office or mail your notarized application and check, payable to Polk BoCC, to the administrative office:
    • Waste and Recycling Administrative Office
      Attn: Additional Garbage Cart
      10 Environmental Loop S.
      Winter Haven, FL 33889
  • Cost: $67 One-time lease fee (non-refundable)
  • Plus $52.50 Annual Disposal Fee*
  • Acceptable form of payment: Cash, check and credit cards
  • Make checks payable to: Polk BoCC

* Disposal fees for the first year will be prorated based on the month the cart is leased. All fees must be paid prior to an additional cart being delivered as noted in the lease application.

This was the size that our customers told us they wanted. The cart size and type were chosen as a result of feedback the county received from several public meetings where residents were invited to share their wants, needs, thoughts and concerns on residential curbside collection.

Residents may call our customer care representatives at (863) 284-4319 to schedule the pick-up of their cart, they may bring it to the Waste and Recycling administrative office, 10 Environmental Loop S. in Winter Haven or they can submit a request online. Roll carts are non-transferable as each has a RFID number that is linked to each resident’s property.

Collection days may be found by visiting our service days map. Residents may also call our Waste and Recycling office at (863) 284-4319.

A two-day system is being used to help manage situations where residents place contaminated and non-recyclable materials in recycling containers, non-conforming yard trash curbside, or other materials inappropriate for curbside service. In these instances, the hauler will leave the contaminated recyclable material roll cart curbside with a note that explains why the cart was not picked up. This gives the resident an opportunity to place appropriate materials in the cart or dispose of them properly.

This two-day system will result in cleaner communities and promote higher quality recyclable materials, which increases its value and reduces costs to residents.

  • Newspapers, paper
  • Aluminum cans, steel/tin cans and their lids
  • Clean cardboard
  • Plastic materials that are translucent in color; no colored or clear plastics; most commonly found in the shape of gallon and half gallon jugs

Keeping recyclable materials free of grease, soil and residue is the best way to ensure success. Avoid including items that can contaminate your cart. By keeping your roll cart lid closed, you will minimize contact with rain and keep your materials dry. Only those items listed should be placed in the recyclable materials cart. Items not listed above should be placed in the garbage roll cart.

Plastic materials (packaging) are evolving rapidly. With so many types of plastics, many do not blend effectively with one another in the re-manufacturing process of new packaging or product. For this reason, Polk County limits its collection to products that have the longest environmental and economic value, such as milk jugs.

The collection process is only a small piece of the recycling process.

Curbside collection of post-consumer glass bottles is not ideal for the recycling process. Glass is transported, compacted, loaded and reloaded before it even reaches Polk’s third party recycling company. Because it is very easily broken, it can embed in other materials contaminating them.

One of the biggest struggles for manufacturing/packaging companies with selling or buying post-consumer glass is the abundance of readily-available, natural, domestic materials (sand, soda ash, and limestone) to make new glass. Without a use or demand for the recycled material, in this case post-consumer glass – it does not move forward in the recycling process.

There are currently no commercial manufacturers in Florida accepting post-consumer glass for recycling purposes.

Successful and effective recycling is a key part of waste reduction. The county’s goal is to effectively collect materials having the potential to successfully be reused or recycled into new products. This goal can be achieved when transforming recyclable materials into a new product requires less energy than manufacturing from raw products and contamination is minimized.