HomeMiami NewsMiami-Dade to implement stricter recycling contamination measures

Miami-Dade to implement stricter recycling contamination measures


Miami, Florida – Starting June 1, 2024, the Miami-Dade County Department of Solid Waste Management (DSWM) will enforce stricter measures to combat recycling contamination as part of its curbside single-stream recycling program. This initiative follows a significant ordinance passed by the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners in April 2023, aimed at enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of recycling processes by reducing contamination.

From Education to Enforcement

The ordinance grants DSWM enforcement officers the authority to inspect recycling carts placed at the curb to ensure they do not contain non-recyclable items. Contaminants in the recycling stream can seriously undermine the recycling process, rendering valuable materials unusable, and significantly hindering operations at recycling facilities.

The move to stricter enforcement follows a year-long educational phase that began on June 1, 2023, during which residents received guidance on proper recycling practices. Throughout this period, enforcement officers inspected blue recycling carts and issued yellow courtesy notices to residents found to have contaminated carts. These notices informed residents of the non-recyclable items discovered and included additional educational materials to help them #RecycleRight.

Residents with tagged carts were required to remove the contaminants themselves. These carts were not serviced by the department’s recycling collection contractor until the residents had corrected the issue, and collection was deferred until the next scheduled recycling day. Notably, no fees were assessed for contamination during this educational period, which ended on May 31, 2024.

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New Penalties for Non-Compliance

With the educational phase coming to an end, starting June 1, 2024, residents will need to adhere more strictly to recycling guidelines. Under the new enforcement rules, residents whose recycling carts are tagged for containing non-recyclable items will have three chances to rectify their mistakes. If the contamination is not removed, and a cart is tagged more than three times, the resident will be charged a $152 special collection and/or disposal fee to have the contaminated material removed from their cart.

This fee underscores the importance of compliance with recycling regulations and aims to encourage residents to take greater responsibility for the contents of their recycling carts. The goal is to reduce the amount of time and resources wasted on dealing with contaminated recyclables, thereby improving the efficiency of the recycling process.

Miami-Dade County continues to provide residents with resources to learn about proper recycling practices. For more information on how to Recycle Right, residents can visit the official Miami-Dade County recycling website. This shift from educational measures to enforceable penalties marks a significant step in the county’s efforts to enhance environmental sustainability and operational efficiency in waste management.

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