Keep Southwest Florida Recycling Plastic Bag Free

Recycling facilities are not able to process recyclables when they are in plastic bags. Plastic bags can also get caught in the machinery that processes the recyclable material. Charlotte, Collier and Lee Counties are launching a campaign today reminding the Southwest Florida community that ‘Plastic is okay, but plastic bags, no way!’ and to ‘Keep SWFL Recycling Plastic Bag Free’ by keeping bags out of recycle carts.

“This is a little something we can each do that will have a great impact on recycling and our environment,” said Doug Whitehead, Lee County Solid Waste director.

“Trashing bags is a win for the environment and for residents and visitors who enjoy Southwest Florida,” added Vanessa Caporale, Collier County Waste Reduction and Recycling Team. “The Keep SWFL Recycling Plastic Bag Free initiative also aims to improve recycling efficiency by reducing the time recycling workers have to spend removing plastic bags from jammed machinery.”

Waste goes up significantly on holidays and Super Bowl Sunday holds the win as the highest day for waste. “By launching this campaign on Super Bowl Sunday, the biggest day for trash, we hope to get people to engage in habits where they will dispose of plastic bags properly,” said Lorenzo Daetz, Charlotte County Public Works Solid Waste Division.

Here’s how you can help:

  • When in doubt, throw it out. Place plastic bags in the trash, not in recycling.
  • Try reusable shopping bags instead of plastic.
  • Collect plastic bags in an easy to grab spot so you remember to return them on your next shopping trip. Grocers offer drop-off bins for used grocery bags.
  • Be creative. Find other uses for plastic bags rather than discarding them.
  • Encourage the entire family to get involved. Explain why there are no more bags in the home’s recycling cart and how they can help.
  • Like our pages on Facebook:,
  • Share our Keep SWFL Plastic Bag Free posts to help spread the word and improve recycling efforts.
  • Use #plasticokbagsnoway on all social media platforms to show us how you’re helping to Keep SWFL Plastic Bag Free.

Visit, for more ideas, information about how to properly manage recyclables, and what you can do to help Keep Southwest Florida Plastic Bag Free.


About Lee County Solid Waste

Lee County Solid Waste continues to implement programs that make recycling, resource recovery and responsible waste management easier. The department pledges to strive for even more effective and sustainable solutions for the future. Learn more at


About Charlotte County Solid Waste Division

The Charlotte County Solid Waste Division ensures that the 190,000 residents that call Charlotte County home, have a variety of convenient and safe ways to dispose of their recycling and waste. The Solid Waste Division owns and operates two mini transfer and recycling facilities conveniently located within the county for residential disposal of household hazardous waste, yard debris, construction debris, and a convenient drop off location for recyclables. The Solid Waste Division also owns and operates a full-scale landfill processing up to 300,000 tons of waste annually and collects enough energy from the gas collection system to power 3000 homes for one year. Charlotte County has been awarded for its efforts in recycling by FDEP for exceeding the state mandated recycling goal of 75% and achieving the highest traditional recycling rate in the state of Florida!


About Collier County Solid & Hazardous Waste Management Division


Collier County aims to deliver best value, high quality, sustainable solid waste management services that meet our customers’ expectations. Collier County is ranked 4th in the state with a recycling rate of 74 percent. Collier County aspires to lead in environmental stewardship with the goal to keep our beaches, lakes and natural preserves pristine for future generations. Collier County educates residents on the importance of sustainability, recycling and preserving paradise. For more information, visit

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