Commercial Recycling & Required Waste Audits
The City of Treasure Island’s Recycling and Waste Management Ordinance (Ordinance 18-03), adopted April 2018, requires commercial property owners/managers to conduct a waste audit at least once every five years to identify the types of waste generated that could potentially be reduced, recycled or otherwise diverted from disposal. The audit should identify existing recycling services and planned recycling services. If no recycling services are to be provided, the property owner or manager should provide the reason with submission of the audit. The first audit must be submitted by May 1, 2019.
How to Conduct a Waste Audit
Perform a baseline assessment of what types of recyclables and waste your property generates and how much could be recyclable. You can conduct the waste audit in-house using a simple waste assessment form or you may contact a recycling provider or Pinellas County both of which may perform an assessment free of charge. If you are completing the audit in-house, start by developing a waste audit worksheet that suits your type of business. The worksheet should list all products used in your operations by category such as mixed paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, general waste, food waste and yard waste. You may use the audit worksheet created by the City (see link below) or you may use a comparable, alternative worksheet. Next, select the department(s)/location(s) the waste will be sampled from (lounge, kitchen, offices, etc). It's preferred that you use multiple study areas to get a comprehensive sample. Estimate the relative proportions of each item listed on the worksheet in the appropriate column (recyclable, garbage and hazardous waste). Feel free to contact the City for assistance.
Example Commercial Audit Form
Commercial Waste Reduction Practices
Organizations can reduce the amounts of waste generated by changing the design, manufacture, purchase or use of materials or products. Changing the items you purchase, especially the disposable ones is one of the easiest and most effective changes that can be made. Look for products that are local, last longer, made from renewable resources or that are easily recyclable. Your organization could also encourage employees to reduce the materials used by printing only what is needed and set printer settings to print double sided to save paper. Another example is to encourage the use of reusables, such as coffee mugs to reduce the use of single-use disposable cups. Your organization can also donate unwanted products or materials to others who may need or want them, instead of throwing them away. A good rule of thumb is buy local and attempt to avoid single-use plastics and styrofoam.
When waste cannot be prevented from the source, recycling is the next best option. The amount and type of waste your organization generates shapes your opportunities to implement a recycling program. If possible, consider switching to recyclable products to increase recycling opportunities and reduce waste. If the option to recycle is available, it’s important to engage and educate employees, tenants, customers and visitors. Make an announcement or host a program kick-off when your organization starts a new recycling program to get the word out there and to provide an opportunity to educate. Use clear signage on recycling and trash bins that include pictures of what goes in each bin. It’s best to keep trash and recycling bins next to each other to encourage recycling. Ongoing communication and promotion is key to program success. Effective tools for getting the message across include: promotional campaigns; brochures and newsletters; banners; newspaper ads; product displays and store signs.
Best Practices to Reduce Liquids in the Waste Stream
Liquid waste is an on-going issue in the City of Treasure Island. In a city surrounded by water, it is crucial that everyone does their part to eliminate liquids from the waste stream to prevent them from entering the storm drains. Liquids that end up in trash cans and dumpsters become problematic during the trash collection process. Trash bags tear easily, so liquids that are disposed of in trash cans instead of down the drain can create a mess when the bags are compacted in the collection truck. Not only can these contaminated liquids make it to the bay or the gulf, but they also create aesthetic and odor problems on our roads, sidewalks and parking lots.
Violations & Enforcement
Waste entering trash cans and dumpers must be dry. Failure to comply with this rule is a violation of Pinellas County's Stormwater and Surface Water Pollution Ordinance Article VI, Chapter 58, which prohibits any discharge other than clean water to the right-of-way, drainage system, or receiving waterways. Violators of the County Stormwater Ordinance may be fined up to $10,000 per day and held responsible for cleanup. Elimination of liquids entering the waste stream is also mandated by the City of Treasure Island's Recycling and Waste Management Ordinance, Chapter 38, Article II, Sec. 38-16(e)(1) Preparation for Collection which states that "All waste must be placed inside waste containers provided by the City. All solid waste, including disposable bottles, cans and other containers, shall first be drained of liquids. Wet waste shall be placed in plastic bags before being placed in waste containers. Containers shall be kept tightly covered at all times except when uncovered for the purpose of depositing waste. If the cover cannot be closed tightly because of the accumulation of waste, the city manager will require the customer to increase the capacity of its waste containers (i.e., either the number or size of containers) or add additional collections, and pay the prescribed charge for such service. Section 38-05(c)(1) also states the penalty for violations: “Failure to properly drain or enclose wet waste or liquids prior to placement in a dumpster to avoid release of liquids upon servicing the dumpster” may result in a $113 fine per instance.
Ways to Eliminate Liquids from the Waste Stream
Liquids in waste is especially problematic for commercial businesses, such as resturants and hotels, since drink containers are often trashed while they still contain liquids. In addition, odors are often caused by waste liquids, so making sure that liquids do not enter your waste stream can help reduce odor from your waste containers. Here are some best management practices that you may use to avoid contaminating your dumpster or trash can with liquid or wet waste:
- Drain all containers, including bottles, of liquids before placing them in the trash. If discarded cups have lemons, straws or other non-liquids, remove the non-liquids first. Then dump the liquids and/or ice down the drain before placing the empty cup in the trash can or recycle bin. To make this process more streamlined in a commercial setting, consider setting up a system with a colander in which servers can quickly empty the entire cup’s contents before throwing away the empty cup. Then the non-liquid contents caught in the colander can be routinely removed and disposed of. Another way to make this process easier is to only provide straws and lemons to customers upon request - doing so also helps eliminate wasteful single-use plastics!
- Make it easy on your employees by clearly labeling your disposal containers and sinks. Condisder having containers marked "Trash - No Ice/Liquids", "Recycling", and "Grease/Oils" and labeling a sink or bucket "Liquids" with a device to catch solids.
- Never put grease or oils into the trash. Commerical kitchens are required by law to use and maintain a grease trap/interceptor system.
- Keep dumpster and trash can lids closed at all times to prevent rain from mixing with your waste. If you need additional waste containers or more frequent pick-ups, contact the Public Works Department at 727-547-4575 x250.