Let’s Talk Some Trash!

First, I have to admit I have never been so excited to get new trash cans in my life.  When the country dropped off those shiny, CLEAN, new blue and gray trash cans, I was literally filled with glee.  Our old ones are cracked, smelly, and lid-less.  The old lids ran away from home one day and never returned…


The county’s new recycling initiatives excite me too!  Having lived in other cities where the majority of people recycle—I was a little dismayed with Tampa’s program.  That is about to change!!  The new program allows for the recycling of a bunch of items and makes it easier than ever to participate—no sorting!  (Is it bad that I’m so excited by all this?)

After reading the paperwork attached to my gleaming new trash cans, I still had questions.  Can you throw away a trash can?  Do you put the trash can in another trash can? Is the color really gray or more like a gun-metal?

This article outlines some answers I found using my detective skills (and by visiting the web site and making some calls.  I was transferred 3 times—for a total hold time of 27 minutes.  That’s how much I love you all).

Pick up using the new automated system, new cans, and NEW DAYS begins on September 30th. If you don’t know your new day, or lost your purple instruction sheet attached to the can, call 813-272-5680.

What To Do With Old Trash Cans

Unwanted cans can be placed curbside for collection the week of September 23 with a note directing your service provider to take the cans.  OOOPS!  Missed that deadline…

After the new automated program starts the week of September 30, old trash cans can be placed in your GRAY roll cart for disposal, or taken to a Community Collection Center.   OK.  I can Karate-chop up my old can to place in the new can.  Or I can layer my mini-van in plastic—crime scene style—and haul those filthy things to the dump…er… Community Collection Center.   If you, like me, have never taken anything to the dump before, here’s how:

Going to the centers are free—but you must bring a current property tax bill which shows the Solid Waste collection and disposal assessments and a state-issues photo ID.  You can take anything really: electronics, scrap metal/wood, tires, appliances, auto batteries, mattresses—and old trash cans.

Here’s where they are:  Open Monday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

  • Alderman Ford: 9402 State Rd. 39, Lithia 33547. -813-757-3820
  • Hillsborough Heights: 6209 County Rd 579, Seffner 33584. -813-744-5533
  • Northwest: 8001 W. Linebaugh Ave., Tampa 33625. -813-264-3816
  • South County: 13000 Us. Hwy 41, Gibsonton 33534. -813-671-7611

If the item is too big for your car, you can call to arrange a “special pickup.” Your service provider will come and get it for you—for a fee.  In these cases, it might be best to pool some resources from your neighbors and see if you can’t all make one big collection and split the cost.  They will take large items, even broken water heaters and furniture.

The three service providers in Hillsborough are:

  • Progressive Waste Solution-s 813-248-3802
  • Republic Services- 813-265-0292
  • Waste Management- 813-621-3053

Residents are encouraged to keep their old trash cans for yard waste, or other household purposes.

If you have the space, this might be the easiest option.  On your yard collection day, you can set out up to twelve 30-gallon containers of yard waste.  Each bin cannot weigh more than 50 pounds.  We gotta’ give those people’s backs a break!  If you have a bunch of tree limbs—bundle them and stack them without a bag.  They go into the county’s mulch.

Or you can use old trash cans for some of these fun projects: Trash Can Keg-o-Rater, Trash Can Hamper, or Trash Can Jacuzzi.

trash Collage


In the tiny recycling bins of days-gone-by, you could only recycle a few things (like water bottles and newspapers—in separate bins).  Now, you can recycle WAY more.  In fact, you might be surprised at how little “trash” you actually have.  It all goes into the same, blue, bin—so you don’t have to worry about sorting.

Toss in:

Glass, aluminum (soda) cans and foil, tin (soup) and steel cans, and milk jugs and cartons and juice boxes.  Paperboard items (like cereal boxes) and newspaper/magazines/junk mail can all still go in too.  You can also toss in any other clean paper—the test to see if it goes in is whether or not it tears.  This means no frozen food boxes with waxy coating.

Now, you can also toss in plastics from 1-7.  It used to be only 1-3, so that is a huge improvement.  It’s a great activity for young kids to find the symbol and figure out the number (we are working on math skills any way we can).  If it’s between 1-7 it goes in there.

You can also recycle plastic grocery bags and plastic that goes on packaging!  You used to have to take those to the store (or re-purpose them for doggy waste—which you can still do).  Now, all you have to do is put all the platic bags into one bag and toss them in the blue bin.  “Marge,” from the utilities department, told me to make sure they were all inside a bag and not floating around loose in there.  She also told me you can put old clothing/fabric in the recycle bin!  Who knew?

Things to Remember

Three feet!!  That’s the rule.  Make sure you keep each can three feet from other cans, trees, mailboxes, cars, etc.  The automated arms need space.

cart tips drawing


Place the carts road/curbside with the arrows on the lid pointing towards the street.  You do not want the trash dumping all over your yard.

Here’s an explanatory video you can watch that demonstrates the process.  (P.S.  The guy in the video is seriously befuddled by trash days.  Take a deep breath and remember to walk slowly as you take your can to the curb. Let’s avoid the old trash-bag-slip-and-fall.) (P.P.S.  There is a haunting video offered in the YouTube suggestions afterwards about caterwauling.  Yikes.  Glad those cats don’t live on my street.)

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VejLJrtSKZE&feature=youtu.be">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VejLJrtSKZE&feature=youtu.be</a>

I hope this helps answer your question, ease any trash-related anxiety you may have, and help you “roll” with the new changes.  Here’s the county’s site for more information and your new collection days and times: http://hillsboroughcounty.org/index.aspx?NID=2945

CORRECTION: 10/15/13

No cloth should be recycled.  I received some incorrect information on the phone.  Any clothing or cloth should be put in the trash (gray) bins–or donated if they are in good condition!!


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