Starting a Recycling Program At Your Business

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Step-up Recycle 

Did you know commercial waste makes up about 59% of the total municipal solid waste generated in Collier County?  Businesses and industry operations generate recyclable materials in many areas such as offices, cafeterias, retail stores, shipping and warehouse units, print shops, and production areas.  Many companies already have a recycling program in place, while others are just beginning. 

To those businesses who have implemented a recycling program: thank you for taking the recycling initiative to reduce waste and increase recycling.  Your waste reduction efforts have not only helped the county preserve valuable landfill airspace, but also supported the county in surpassing the  first phased target of Florida's 75% Recycling Goal.  The Florida Department of Environmental Protection Agency currently reports Collier County's recycling rate at 63% for 2015.  Recycling possibilities are endless, keep up the good work!

What materials are recyclable?

The most commonly collected recyclable materials include - 

  • Paper         
      • Office Paper: copy paper, computer paper, stationary paper, white note paper
      • Mixed Paper: white and colored paper, newspaper, file folders, and manila envelopes

        Paper 2

Paper makes up 28% of municipal solid waste (MSW), more than any other material Americans throw away.  The United States Department of Environmental Protection Agency reports Americans recycled nearly 66% of the paper they used in 2011.  Recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions, conserves natural resources, and saves landfill airspace.  According to the American Forest and Paper Association, nearly 80% of America's paper mills depend on paper recycling to supply the raw materials they need to make new paper.

  • Corrugated Cardboard

Commercial businesses in the United States generate a large portion of the estimated 24.1 million tons of corrugated cardboard discCardboard 2arded each year.  Of the 24.1 million tons generated in 2011, 91% was recycled.  Corrugated cardboard is one of the easiest materials to reduce at the source, reuse, and recycle.  Reducing corrugated cardboard is often  the first step a business takes to reduce its waste. You can easily reduce your cardboard by compressing or baling.  Because cardboard is so bulky, recycling it can significantly reduce waste disposal costs.  When designated for reuse, the fiber found in the corrugated cardboard is used to make new corrugated cardboard or tissue paper, conserving raw materials. 

  • Glass
      • Green, clear, and brown glass 

Glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly without loss in quality or purity. It has served as a universal packaging container for centuries.  Manufacturers use glass to hold everything from soda to perfume.   The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports 90% of recycled glass is used to make new containers, kitchen tiles, counter tops, and wall insulation.  In 2011 the EPA reported over 41% of beer and soft drink bottles were recovered for recycling, 34% of wine and liquor bottles and 15% of food and other glass jars were recycled. In total, 34.2% of all glass containers were recycled. Please note: not all haulers accept glass as part of their commercial recycling program; be sure to check with your hauler on what materials they accept.

  • Metal
      • Aluminum, tin, and steel cans; scrap copper, lead, zinc, nickel, titanium, cobalt, chromium and other precious metals. 

Scrap metal is classified as either ferrous or non-ferrous.  The difference between the two is that ferrous metal has a component of iron and non-ferrous metal does not. TMetal 2 Piche easy way to determine ferrous from non-ferrous is by using a magnet. If the magnet sticks to the metal, then its ferrous.  In 2010, 54 million metric tons of ferrous metal was recycled, accounting for 60% of raw steel produced in the United States. It's estimated that CO2 emissions are reduced by 58% by using recycled ferrous scrap, rather than virgin materials, when producing iron or steel.

Non-ferrous metal refers to aluminum, copper, lead, zinc, nickel, titanium, cobalt, chromium, and other precious metals.  They account for a small percentage of materials recycled in the United States; however, 8 million metric tons of non-ferrous scrap was recycled in 2010.  Unlike ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals recycling requires the separation of different metals for proper processing. The EPA reports 92% of energy is saved when aluminum is recycled and reused; 56% with steel; and 90% with copper. Ferrous and non-ferrous metal recycling not only helps save energy, but also reduce CO2 emissions and lessens waste materials disposed of in our landfill. 

  • Plastic
      • Plastics #1-7 
      • Water, soda, juice, and condiment bottles,  food tubs and containers, milk jugs, egg and juice cartons, vegetable and meat trays, plastic shopping bags.

Plastic makes up almost 13% of the municipal waste stream.  The largest category of plastics are found in containers and packaging (e.g., soft drink bottles, lids, shampoo bWater Bottle Picottles), but they are also found in durable items (e.g., appliances, furniture) and nondurable goods (e.g., diapers, trashbags, cups and utensils, medical devices).  In 2011, Americans generated 14 million tons of plastic  containers and packaging: 11 million tons as durable goods, such as appliances; and 7 million tons of nondurable goods including dishware and cups.  Oil is one of the components used to make plastic. For every 1 ton of plastic that is recycled, we save 2,000 pounds of oil.  Recycling helps conserve non-renewable fossil fuels, reduce energy consumption,  decreases CO2 emissions, and minimizes the amount of solid waste in our landfill.                      

Step-by-Step Guide to Starting a Recycling Program

Recycling is just one step in a series of proper waste management techniques.  Before you begin your  recycling program, think of how you will do it effectively. We work closely with local businesses to create successful, cooperative commercial/business waste reduction and recycling programs.  Should you require assistance, our Recycling Coordinators are here to help.  We will come to your facility and provide a waste assessment and discuss various recycling techniques to get you started. To set up an appointment with a Recycling Coordinator, please call 239-252-2508.   

Step #1: Reduce and Reuse

  • The first step is to reduce the amount of waste produced and reuse materials where you can.  These practices save both money and the environment.

Step #2: Know Your Trash

  • Separate recyclable materials from your solid waste. Conduct a waste assessment and identify the types and approximate quantities of recyclable materials generated by your business. This task might be a little dirty, but is an essential part of determining what type of recyclables your business generates.
  • Helpful video: "Waste Audit"

Step #3: Comply with the Ordinance

Step #4: Determine Your Recycling Hauler or Self-Haul



Step #5: Contract with a Recycling Hauler


  • Contract with a recycling hauler for the collection and transportation of recyclable materials to a verifiable recycling facility.
  • Collection Containers: Provide collection containers for recyclable materials (provided by your independent recycling hauler).

Note: Exemptions from Collier County's Land Development Code's minimum parking space and visual screening requirements may be allowed if your site plan application was submitted prior to 2005, the ordinance's effective date.

  • Single-Stream Recycling: Please ask you independent recycling hauler for single-stream recycling service. (Single-stream recycling = commingling of all recyclable materials in one container).  
  • Hauling Contract: Be prepared to provide a copy of your recycling hauling contract when requested.


  • Complete a Self-Hauling Certificate and transport recyclable material to a verifiable recycling facility. (Please refer to "Become a Recycling Hauler" below for additional information.)
  • Be prepared to provide a copy of your Self-Hauling Certificate when requested. 

Step #6: Make Recycling Easy

How easy and convenient you make recycling in you business will affect your employees participation.

  • Strategically place recycling containers in high volume areas where it is easily accessible to employees.
  • Always place trash and recycling containers side-by-side to allow for easy and convenient disposal.
  • Consider placing a recycling container in kitchen areas for the collection of mixed recyclables, (plastic, glass bottles, aluminum, and tin). 
  • Label all recycling bins clearly so employees know exactly what to put in them. 

Helpful videos: Training Videos Business Page.

Helpful Information

Collier County Recycling Ordinance No. 2009-56

City of Naples Recycling Ordinance

Everglades City Interlocal Recycling Agreement

Marco Island Interlock Recycling Agreement

Back to Mandatory Recycling Page


Recycling facts and information complied from various sources which include the United States Environmental Protection Agency,,, South Carolina Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling.