The US EPA has developed a waste management hierarchy to guide industry decision makers, residents and business in the disposal of waste materials, which includes plastic waste.  


Source Reduction: Source reduction minimizes the amount of plastic waste materials generated at the source through different methods such as refusing plastic products, especially single-use plastics, reusing or donating plastic items, or buying in bulk for reduced packaging. Consumers are also encouraged to purchase products with recycled content to help ensure the market for these materials persists and closes the recycling loop. Many recycled content products are currently available, for more information visit the EPA’s webpage here.  

ReuseReuse asks consumers and businesses to choose reusable options over disposable, single use productsand suggests reusing plastics at home to divert these difficult materials from the waste streamHardy plastic containers can often be repurposed around the house, or even put to creative use for projects in the classroom. 


RecyclingLocal Florida governments offer robust commercial and residential recycling programs to collect many types of plastic for recycling or processingDespite the existence of recycling programs across the state, plastic waste materials, especially single use plastics such as grocery bags, continue to litter Florida’s natural environments and waterways. Unfortunately, due to the material’s low value and the difficulties associated with processing plastic filmgovernment managed recycling programs do not accept grocery bags or similar materials for processing. Instead plastic film can be delivered to grocery retailers such as Publix, Target and Walmart, all of which provide collection bins at the front of their stores. To help prevent plastic litter from defacing our state, it is important to stay up to date on which types of plastics are accepted by your local recycling program, and to participate in recycling services offered in your community. 

CompostingCompost is organic matter that has decomposed and to produce a nutrient rich soil conditioner. Composting organic food wastes at your home or business helps to divert these wastes from taking up limited landfill space. As plastic wastes continue to threaten natural environments across the globe, biodegradable plastic alternatives derived from plant materials are becoming more readily available to businesses and consumers. While plastic alternatives may not backyard compostable, many local governments are beginning to develop large scale composting facilities to process compostable and biodegradable waste materials 


Unfortunately, plastic wastes cannot be processed in waste-to-energy facilities, making refuse, reduce, recycle and reuse the best options to minimize plastic wastes.  


Treatment: Waste treatment reduces the volume of toxicity in waste materials through physical, chemical and biological processes. 

Disposal: After treatment, waste products are transferred to disposal sites, or landfills that are managed by local governments. Unfortunately, due to the durable nature of plastics, once landfilled plastic wastes take hundreds of years to decompose  

Florida Food Waste Prevention Week
Florida Food Waste Prevention Week is a dynamic and comprehensive week filled with special activities and events designed to raise awareness and inspire behavior change to reduce food waste at home, work and in our communities. Learn more about how you can join throughout the week using the button below.
April 5 - 9, 2021