Recyclable Materials

The goal of the Recyclable Materials Collection Program is to effectively collect materials that have the greatest potential to successfully be reused or recycled into new products.

Automated Recyclable Materials Collection

A special vehicle, equipped with a lifting mechanism, reaches out to the roll cart, lifts and empties the container returning the cart to its original position. Residents receive a 65-gallon recyclable materials roll cart for the accepted recyclable materials. RMCP is available to all unincorporated Polk County customers, who wish to participate. If you need a recyclable materials roll cart, call the Waste and Recycling Division at (863) 284-4319.


Guidelines for Recyclable Material collection:

Accepted recyclable materials:

  • Aluminum cans
  • Steel (tin) cans or containers
  • Cardboard, cereal boxes, egg cartons (cardboard)
  • Newspaper, uncoated paper, paper products
  • Most gallon and half gallon, translucent plastics (no colored or clear plastics), milk, juice or water jugs

The plastic jugs represent the shape of plastic material accepted in Polk County’s Recyclable Materials Collection Program. Only translucent plastics (no colored or clear plastics) are accepted.

Keeping recyclable materials dry and 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 items listed above should be placed in the recyclable materials cart; items not listed above, should be placed in the garbage roll cart.

Why not glass and plastic?- show / hide

Glass breaks easily during the collection process and compromises other viable materials in the RMCP roll cart. As a result, broken glass embeds in healthy materials making them unlikely to be reused or recycled successfully into new products.

Not all plastics are created equal. Many do not blend effectively during the process of creating a new product. This poses regulatory and processing challenges to manufacturers, who incorporate post-consumer plastics into a new product. For this reason, Polk County limits its collection to products that have the longest environmental and economic value, such as milk and juice jugs.

Resources- show / hide

Source: The Economist “Recycling in America: In the Bin” by E.B. | NEW YORK

Source: WIRED: "Listen Up America: You Need to Learn How to Recycle. Again."

Source: CNN MONEY - China to U.S.: Please stop sending us your junk

Source: Washington Post -American recycling is stalling, and the big blue bin is one reason why

Source: WBUR & The Boston Globe Economists Say We Need to Rethink How We Recycle 10.14.17

Source: Mother Nature Network -Why optimistic recycling is a problem by: Angela Nelson 5.5.2017

Source: A Resource Recycling, Inc. publication - ISRI: China 'not prepared' to enact ban as deadline draws near by: Colin Staub 12.13.17

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