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Frequently Asked Questions

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Questions about Solid Waste

Q: What are the services/responsibilities of the Solid Waste Department?

A: The department's responsibility for garbage removal consists of commercial collection; automated residential collection; residential manual collection of yard waste and trash; and manual collection of garbage in areas not conducive to automation. Additionally, there is a container maintenance section (welding, painting of Dumpsters and repair and delivery of black barrels and recycling containers). Trash and bulk items not placed in the black barrels are collected with rear loaders and dump trucks with articulating arms ("jaws") once a week and on call.

The department also provides a full-service citywide recycling program. The program consists of weekly residential recycling collection for 26,800 single-family residences; multifamily recycling service for all complexes, comprising 26,500 units; a comprehensive commercial collection program serving 470 businesses; the operation of a multi-material dropoff center; the processing and marketing of recyclables for the purpose of returning the income therefrom to the recycling program; community service programs; special projects (such as Christmas tree recycling); and an extensive education and promotion program.

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Q: How do I order Solid Waste Department services?

A: To order Solid Waste Department services, please call Clearwater Customer Service at (727) 562-4600.

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Q: When is garbage collected?

A: Garbage is collected twice weekly for single-family residences. Collection schedules vary for commercial accounts and multifamily complexes. Call (727) 562-4920 for information on your specific collection schedule.

Place your container at the curb no earlier than 7:00 PM on the night prior to collection day or no later than 7:00 am that morning. Bring the container in by 7:00 am on the day following collection. Single-family residential customers receive curbside yard waste and trash collection once a week. Commercial and multifamily customers should have their management call (727) 562-4920 to schedule a pick up.

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Q: Where should I place my garbage container?

A: Place containers within 2 feet of curb with handle facing away from curb and at least 3 feet from any obstructions such as vehicles, mailboxes, recycling bins, trees, etc.

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Q: How should I fill my garbage container?

A: To properly fill your garbage container, please follow these guidelines:

  • Drain and wrap or bag wet garbage
  • Nothing should stick out of the top or hang over the sides of the container
  • Cut long objects into short lengths so they will not stick out of, or become wedged in, the container
  • Don't place objects on top of closed lids or in front of containers
  • Don't place yard waste/debris in container

For yard waste collection:

  • Cut tree limbs 4" in diameter or less into 4' lengths, bundle and place curbside
  • Bag uncontaminated twigs, loose leaves and grass or put in non-City garbage cans (up to 32 gallon) and place curbside
  • For large materials, cut limbs and stumps over 4" in diameter into lengths 4 feet or less and stack curbside, clear of obstructions (please call (727) 562-4920 to arrange for removal of these and other very bulky yard waste piles)
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Q: What cannot be discarded as garbage or trash?

A: Unacceptable waste for single-family residential collection includes hazardous waste (paint, auto fluids, batteries, household and pool chemicals); electronics, recyclables; yard waste; concrete; dirt; sod; sand; plaster; carpet; construction debris; tires; and hot ashes.

For commercial and multifamily service, unacceptable waste includes hazardous waste (paint, auto fluids, batteries, household and pool chemicals); electronics (computers, TVs, etc.); concrete; dirt; sod; sand; plaster; shingles; heavy building materials; hot ashes; tires; and flammable or biomedical waste.

Mobile Collections are conducted each month at various locations throughout the county. You can review the calendar of upcoming Pinellas County Mobile Collection dates on their Web site. For more information, call Pinellas County Utilities at 727-464-7500.

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Q: My garbage container has been damaged/vandalized. What should I do?

A: To report damage to your black barrel or recycling bin, to order a replacement container, or to report repair/service needs, vandalism or graffiti, please call Solid Waste at (727) 562-4920. For repairs, please empty and wash out the damaged container and leave in front of the garage or next to the building/house where it can readily be seen from the street. When calling for commercial or multifamily service, please give the service address, telephone number, and the ID number on the container's front. Please ensure that containers are easily accessible on scheduled day of repair or service.

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Q: What is hazardous waste?

A: Hazardous wastes are corrosive, toxic, flammable and reactive substances that present a threat to public health, safety and the environment. Never place hazardous waste in garbage or recycling containers. Please call (727) 464-7500 for more information.

Commercially-generated corrosive, toxic, flammable and reactive substances should never be placed in garbage or recycling containers. Please call the County at (727) 464-7500 for disposal information.

Mobile Collections are conducted each month at various locations throughout the county. You can review the calendar of upcoming Pinellas County Mobile Collection dates on their Web site. For more information, call Pinellas County Utilities at 727-464-7500.

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Q: Where can I safely dispose of household hazardous waste such as batteries and paint?

A: Hazardous waste including household and ni-cad (nickel cadmium) batteries, oil-based paint, paint thinners, paint removers and solvents can be taken to the County's Household Chemical Collection Center & Swap Shop (HEC3) at 2855 109th Avenue North, St. Petersburg, FL 33716. Hours of operation are M-F 6am - 6pm and Sat 7am - 5pm. Call (727) 464-7500 for information.

There are many additional options for automotive batteries, plus options for rechargeable and button cell batteries, as listed in Pinellas County's A to Z Guide, including information on the following:

To dispose of latex paint, line a box with plastic. Crumple newspaper into the box. Pour all remaining paint onto the newspaper. Set the box out in the sun to dry out, along with paint cans and lids. When completely dried, put the box in a garbage bag and place into the regular garbage for collection.

Mobile Collections are conducted each month at various locations throughout the county. You can review the calendar of upcoming Pinellas County Mobile Collection dates on their Web site. For more information, call Pinellas County Utilities at 727-464-7500.

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Q: A professional tree trimming company has worked on my yard. Who is responsible for the yard waste?

A: All debris generated within the City by a contractor (tree surgeon, landscaper or other) must be removed and disposed of by the contractor - City Ordinance 6391-99, Sec. 32.282 (1).

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Q. What should I do with used syringes?

A. "Sharps" are items having the potential to puncture or lacerate. These include syringes with attached needles and disposable lancets.

A free, voluntary sharps exchange program is offered by Pinellas County, the Florida Department of Health, and 12 local hospitals. Call the DOH Environmental Health Division at (727) 588-4032 for information and a brochure which includes a list of 15 exchange sites. Visit a participating site and ask for an approved sharps container and instructions on use. When the container is full of discarded syringes, seal it as instructed and return it to one of the exchange sites for safe disposal.

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Q. Are garbage and recyclables picked up on holidays?

A. The Solid Waste Department is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. For information about holiday collection schedule changes, please call (727) 562-4920. Collection schedules on all other holidays remain unchanged.

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Questions about Recycling

Q: What items can residents recycle in Clearwater?

A: Acceptable items are: plastics #1-7, steel and aluminum cans, glass bottles & jars, milk & juice cartons, aerosol cans, corrugated cardboard, newspaper and mixed paper (anything that tears including junk mail, magazines, catalogs, phone books, envelopes, office paper, wrapping paper, etc.) A drop-off center is located at 1701 N. Hercules Avenue.

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Q: What should I do with old electronics such as computers, TVs, and microwaves?

A: Electronic equipment should not be thrown out with the garbage, as it contains hazardous components which should not be burned or landfilled. Please take the following devices (CPUs, monitors, keyboards, plotters, printers, floppy drives, interfaces, CD Roms, televisions, stereos, radios, VCRs, camcorders, microwaves, telephones, power supplies, hard drives, tape drives, & other miscellaneous electronics) to Pinellas County's Household Electronics & Chemical Collection Center (HEC3) at 2855 109th Avenue North, St. Petersburg, FL 33716. Hours of operation are M-F 6am - 6pm and Sat 7am - 5pm.

For more information, call (727)464-7500.

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Q: How can I dispose of junk, old appliances or scrap metal?

A: To dispose of old appliances and large metal items, place them separately at the curb and call (727) 562-4920 for special pick up. Please drain hot water heaters and remove or secure all doors on refrigerators and freezers. Have all refrigerants removed from refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners by a professional before placing at curb. Junk, furniture, and other bulk items can be placed in their own pile at the curb on your collection day. Smaller items (dishes, clothing, etc.) should be bagged. Before putting unwanted items out at the curb, check Pinellas County's handy new web guide to find out how to get rid of over 150 items. You'll find convenient, local options to reuse or recycle items, instead of throwing them away.

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Q: Where can I get free mulch?

A: Free mulch for residential use is available at the Solid Waste Complex, 1701 N. Hercules Ave. Please bring a shovel and containers. For hours, please call (727) 562-4920. For full information on free mulch in Pinellas County, call the hotline at (727) 464-7500.

Mulch at collection centers is for residential use only. For pick up of bulk quantities or commercial use, please call (727) 464-7500.

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Q: What is accepted for recycling curbside in Clearwater?

A: Acceptable materials are:

  • Newspaper and its inserts
  • Plastic bottles marked #1-7
  • Aluminum cans
  • Steel (tin) cans
  • Mixed Paper
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Glass bottles & jars
  • Milk & juice cartons
  • Aerosol cans

In addition, the drop-off center at 1701 N. Hercules Avenue has containers for all of these materials.

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Q: Why are some materials not accepted for recycling in Clearwater?

A: We collect ONLY those materials for which we have secure markets. It is expensive and time-consuming to separate non-recyclable materials (contaminants) from marketable commodities. Some containers may be marked "Recyclable", but the markets for these items may be too distant to make collecting them cost-effective. In other cases, the available volume of some containers is too small to justify a collection program. Finally, the technology to successfully remanufacture some materials simply does not exist at this time.

For these reasons, we do not currently collect the following: Styrofoam, aluminum foil, pie plates, plastic bags, film or wrap.

Note: Plastic grocery bags can be taken to any grocery store for recycling.

Check Pinellas County's handy new web guide for convenient, local options for recycling plastic bags, egg cartons, books, sports equipment, and many, many more items

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Q: How do I get a blue recycling barrel?

A: If you are a resident of incorporated Clearwater with city solid waste service - black barrel or garbage cans other than multifamily or commercial Dumpsters - you should have a blue recycling barrel and weekly collection service. If there is no barrel at your house when you move in, call (727) 562-4930 for a free replacement barrel, Guide to Recycling and a refrigerator magnet printed with your recycling day.

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