Waste Reduction

Waste Reduction
If you’re hosting an event in the community, you can rent recycling containers for free from Leon County’s recycling program! Just visit http://cms.leoncountyfl.gov/Home/Departments/Office-of-Resource-Stewardship/Solid-Waste/Recycling-and-Educational-Services to fill out a request form.

Why reduce waste?

It’s everywhere! Leon County produces 800-1,000 tons of garbage daily, and much of this could be recycled, reused or simply avoided. Help keep our community healthy and pristine by being aware of ways to minimize your impact and save resources.

Fun Fact:

Choose to Reuse

Over a lifetime, the use of reusable bags by just 1 person could save over 22,000 plastic bags! Reusable bags are also sturdier and can hold more items.


Think before you buy.

  • Look for things made from recycled materials.
  • Avoid disposable items – buy reusable.
    • Hosting a party? Use reusable plates, cups, etc., or encourage guests to bring their own favorite glass. If that’s not possible, buy paper or compostable products rather than plastic or Styrofoam – they have a lesser environmental impact.
    • Reusable grocery bags can hold a lot more than a plastic bag – and you never have to throw them away!
  • Buy in bulk.
    • Buying in bulk saves money and creates less waste than if you were to buy items in individual packages. If possible, avoid individually wrapped items and single-serve containers.

Learn more about green purchasing.



Event Planning


The Office of Sustainability created a Green Events Checklist in the fall of 2019 to help meeting and event planners reduce waste, support local businesses, and set an example of good environmental stewardship at their event.

Planning events and meetings with food takes work and the additional task of making them more sustainable can be daunting. This checklist aims to provide easy-to-follow tips and procedures to make your gatherings more sustainable. Along with the Green Events Checklist, you’ll find additional resources for planning green events, including a Vendor Request Form, Food Donation Sites, and a Recycling Bin Rental Form. We encourage you to use these resources to increase sustainability and reduce waste at your next event!

For more information or if you have recommendations for additional items to add to these resources, please contact the Office of Sustainability at Sustainability@leoncountyfl.gov or call (850) 606-5000.

Green Event Checklist



Leon County Community Beautification Program


Through the Leon County Community Beautification Program, individuals, neighborhood and community groups, and schools can apply for reimbursement funds and limited technical assistance to plan, organize and implement small beautification, litter reduction, or place‐making projects. Small projects may be reimbursed a maximum of $500 per project. These funds are offered to support the planning and implementation of projects that physically enhance the beauty of Leon County. Project examples include litter and illegal dumping clean-up events, neighborhood plantings, and other community enhancement, beautification, or clean-up projects. Projects that promote sustainability, community collaboration, and leadership are encouraged. The goal of this program is for community members to meet and work together to further beautify Leon County. 




Did you know Leon County has a recycling goal of 75% by the year 2020? Recycling helps divert trash from the landfill, save valuable resources, and save energy. It takes significantly less energy and resources to make new products from recycled materials than it does to process and manufacture them from raw materials. Much of what we use is discarded far too quickly compared to the resources it took to extract and refine the products – it makes sense, economically and environmentally, to reuse these materials by recycling them! To see a detailed list of exactly what can and cannot be recycled in Leon County, check out our “What Can Be Recycled” List to see specific items listed by material.

Learn more about recycling in Leon County, including free public drop-off locations, rural waste service centers, education programs, etc., by visiting our website.

What is accepted for recycling in Leon County?

What can be Recycled



Start a compost pile in your backyard as a way to recycle your food scraps and yard debris. Composting is the natural process of breaking up of organic waste (such as food and yard waste) into a nutrient-rich soil. This soil can be reused in your yard or garden – no need to purchase fertilizer!

A healthy compost pile requires a good ratio of green things (wet materials, such as food scraps and grass clippings) and brown things (dry materials, such as leaves, twigs, and dirt). Alternating layers of these two materials is a good way to maintain both a nitrogen source (green things) and carbon source (brown things) for your pile, which is necessary for it to decompose into a nutrient-rich soil. Your pile needs oxygen, water, and bugs to help your scraps decompose, so be sure to allow for plenty of airflow. Generally, your pile should maintain the wetness of a wrung-out sponge. Water when necessary.

Take a look at these tips for starting a backyard compost pile. 

Compost bins can be constructed out of almost anything – wooden pallets, planks of wood, chicken wire, etc. Sometimes you don’t even need a bin! Having a bin simply helps keep your pile neat and contained, which is especially helpful if the pile is small to medium sized. You can even purchase compost bins, such as Earth Machine brands, or smaller compost pails to keep indoors. The options are plentiful, so be sure to shop around.

The County now offers a composting drop off site! Learn more.

When it comes to your kitchen scraps here’s what can go in your pile




It is estimated that Americans now buy five times as much clothing as they did in 1980, yet only about 15% of textiles are recycled or donated. Giving excess goods that you no longer need to someone else is one of the most sustainable things you can do. As opposed to dooming an item to the garbage can, you can donate it to a local charity or organization. A lot of used items, everything from old appliances, clothing, arts supplies, and household goods, are still valuable and useful!

Locations in Leon County where you can donate your unwanted items

Where Can I Donate


Other Tips for Green Purchasing

  • Avoid items that contain excessive chemicals or fertilizers.
    • Adding store-bought fertilizer to your yard can be harmful to water bodies – when it rains, this fertilizer is swept off by stormwater and can pollute nearby waterways
    • There are many alternatives that are not only ‘greener,’ but also cheaper. Try leaving your yard debris on your lawn, or starting a compost pile, instead of bagging it – this is a natural way to make your yard nutritious without the additions of purchased fertilizer. Plus, it’s free!
  • Buying cleaning products?
    • Make some at home instead. White vinegar and baking soda is a cheap, toxic-free combination for cleaning just about anything. Learn how to make more home cleaning formulas here: eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_solutions.htm
    • Look for eco-friendly alternatives next time you shop for cleaning materials – there are plenty of products that prize themselves on being better for the environment and better for your health. Here are a few options: www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/content/top_products

Beware of Greenwashing

Most companies know that consumers care about the environment and are drawn to things labeled “eco-friendly,” “organic,” or “green.” Since these labels can sometimes be vague, we need to be aware of the potential for false advertising. “Greenwashing” is a term used to describe companies who deceptively market their products as “green” in order to attract customers. So keep your wits about you when shopping! Here are ways to tell if a product is truly green:

  • Look for accredited third-party certification
    • For credibility, items are often certified by an independent third party. This provides an objective look at a company’s environmental impact by professionals who understand what makes something genuinely eco-friendly. Look for the FSC label on paper, or Energy Star label on appliances. 
  • Look for details
    • If the label uses vague words such as “all natural” or “eco-friendly,” don’t automatically trust it. If a company truly went the extra mile, they will brag about it! Look for details about the product materials, certifications, how it was made, etc. For example, if something says “eco-friendly,” but also says “made from 90% post-consumer recycled content,” they are likely to be more trustworthy. Details indicate that the company is proud of its commitment to sustainability and unafraid to present the facts that prove it.
  • Do your research
    • Certain products are more sustainable than others based on characteristics that require consumer knowledge. For example, bamboo products may not be labeled as “eco-friendly,” although bamboo is a more sustainable material than plastic and certain wood products. If you’re not sure what’s best, never underestimate the importance of a little research.


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