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Trash and Recycling Services

Who is Cape Canaveral’s waste hauler?

Since 2009 the City of Cape Canaveral’s primary waste hauler has been a company called Waste Pro. Waste Pro USA, Inc. is one of the country’s fastest-growing privately-owned waste collection, recycling, processing, and disposal companies, operating in 10 southeastern states. Waste Pro, with revenues exceeding $700 million, serves more than 2 million residential and 40,000 commercial customers from over 75 operating locations. Waste Pro is headquartered in Longwood, Florida, and maintains approximately 300 exclusive municipal contracts and franchises. It employs 3,200 people and has a fleet of 2,400 collection trucks.

Why should you strive to reduce your waste?

The world faces a waste crisis. Billions of tons of material is thrown away each, either finding its way into landfills or the environment where it can do immense damage. The decomposition of waste can also release large amounts of greenhouse gases like methane, which contribute to global warming. The US makes up only 4% of the world's population, but produces 12% of the world's global waste. On average, Americans generate three times as much trash as the global mean. It is estimated that each American produces over 1,700 pounds of solid waste per year, which includes 234 pounds of plastic. By 2050, it is estimated that at current rates of consumption and waste, there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish by weight.

Reducing your overall waste can help to alleviate this crisis and rehabilitate our natural environment. Help keep our City litter-free, our beaches clean, and lower our carbon footprint. Small changes such as using reusable bags instead of plastic ones, composting food waste, using reusable water bottles, and reducing recycling contamination can all make a difference.

Does the City recycle?

Yes, the City – via Waste Pro – does offer curbside recycling; although we are encouraging a constrained stream of recyclable materials. Why is that? Recently, recycling in the US has undergone some major changes, and cities across the country are scrambling to adapt.

Since 1992, China has imported 45% of the world's recyclable goods. This number rises to nearly 70% if Hong Kong is included. However, in 2018 China introduced its “National Sword” policy, which raised the acceptable contamination rate of all imported recyclables to 0.5%, a nearly impossible goal to meet according to US waste industry leaders. This means that any shipment of imported recyclables must be 99.5% pure, devoid of nearly any material that cannot be recycled.

America’s recyclables were no exception to China’s imports, with the vast majority finding their way overseas due to the fact that it was cheaper to ship them there to be recycled into new goods than it was to process them here. Now cities and counties in the US, unable to comply with China’s new contamination standard and having a lack of proper processing infrastructure, are being forced to cancel or constrict recycling programs. Many recyclable goods, as a result, are either being burned or simply sent to landfills. This saturation of stranded materials has also plunged the value of recyclable items. Homegrown contamination of recycling streams is also a huge problem, with much of what is thrown into recycling bins contaminated with nonrecyclable items.

So, in an effort to reduce confusion about what is and isn’t recyclable and to cut down on contamination, the City of Cape Canaveral is focusing on constraining its recyclable items to a simple list of goods that are safe for recycling center employees to handle, easy to remember, and still economically viable for reuse. Residents should now focus on the recyclable items listed below.

What's the deal with glass recycling?

There has been some confusion recently about the recycling of glass. Here’s the deal. According to Waste Management officials who operate the county’s sole recycling facility, residential recycling of glass is still available. However, Waste Management prefers if it weren't. They must take it via a contract with Brevard County, but glass has no real economic value anymore in its recycling due to the economic environment the recycling industry now finds itself in. It is unfortunately one of the most devalued items currently in the recycling market. With little to no value, bales of glass pile up at the County’s recycling center and take up precious space for other materials still economically viable.

It is also dangerous to workers who work inside Waste Management’s recycling facility as it breaks into small sharp shards and can clog up machinery, which can cause hours' worth of costly delays that hurt everyone's overall ability to recycle. So, in short: yes, glass as a material is still recyclable and can still theoretically be placed in residential bins but Waste Management prefers you not due to its lack of value and safety hazard. Hence, the City continues to make the recommendation that you not recycle glass and focus on other recyclable items, which can be seen below.

Where do my recyclables go for recycling?

Recyclables picked up from the City by Waste Pro are shipped to Waste Management’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Cocoa where they are sorted, decontaminated as much as possible, and bailed for reuse. This is the only such facility in Brevard County. It handles about 8,500 tons of material every month.

Please recycle the following items:

  • Aluminum – Empty cans and aluminum foil.
  • Steel and tin cans – Please rinse or remove contents.
  • Corrugated cardboard boxes – Please flatten, and either cut down or fold to a size of no more than 4′ X 4′ flattened. Staples and tape do not have to be removed.
  • Juice cartons – All drink boxes and milk/juice cartons.
  • Magazines – Including catalogs and printed material with glossy pages.
  • Mixed paper – Brown paper bags, junk mail, envelopes, copier paper, shredded paper, cardboard egg cartons, paper towels & toilet paper rolls, cereal, and shoe boxes.
  • Newspapers – Includes all paper that is distributed with or as part of general circulation newspapers.
  • Telephone books
  • Plastics – With the recycling symbol Recycle #1-2 PET and HDPE containers such as beverage bottles, dishwashing soap bottles, shampoo bottles, plastic milk jugs, and detergent bottles. Please rinse and remove food and other contents. Labels, rings, and lids on plastic containers are acceptable.

Items that cannot be recycled include:

  • Bowling balls
  • Ceramics
  • Christmas lights
  • Coat hangers
  • Computers, printers, or other office equipment
  • Electric cords
  • Diapers
  • Food waste 
  • Garden hoses
  • Glass bottles and cookware/bakeware
  • Household items – cooking pots & pans, toasters, etc.
  • Light bulbs (incandescent or fluorescent)
  • Mirrors
  • Needles
  • Plastic bags
  • Plastics that are unnumbered or without recycle symbol
  • Porcelain
  • Propane tanks
  • Soiled pizza boxes
  • Styrofoam – egg cartons, food containers, or packing material
  • Window or auto glass

Helpful Recycling Tips

  • Please DO NOT place any recyclables in plastic bags.
  • Cape Canaveral has single-stream recycling, which means all clean recyclables may be placed together loosely in the same bin or cart.
  • Separating newspapers is not required.
  • If your recycle bin is full, put excess recyclables into brown paper bags.
  • Plastic bags and Styrofoam containers can be recycled at local grocery stores in designated recycling bins.
  • Fluorescent light bulbs can be recycled at any major home improvement store.
  • Place yard waste at the curb for the scheduled Monday pick-up only. Please use a cart or can for loose cuttings, and avoid using plastic bags. Paper yard waste bags are available at local hardware stores.
  • Is it recommended that you leave glass materials out of your curbside recycling bin or cart.

Yard Waste Notice

If practical, yard waste collected from residential and commercial lots should be placed in the standard Waste Pro cans. The yard waste may protrude out of the top of the cans as long as Waste Pro employees can maneuver the can to their truck. If the yard waste does not fit in the Waste Pro cans, it should be bundled and placed at the curb and any loose yard waste should be containerized (e.g., leaves and grass clippings). Waste Pro will accept yard waste in other containers such as “store-bought cans” as long as they have handles and Waste Pro employees are able to lift the cans safely. The landfill does not accept yard waste in plastic bags. Unbundled piles of yard waste will be subject to a minimum ½ Claw Truck fee of $70.62 per pickup for less than 10 yards or full Claw Truck fee of $141.23 per pickup for more than 10 yards.

Contractors must haul away any vegetation debris they produce and must not leave it in the City’s right-of-way.

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