Recycling list keeps getting longer in Keys

Waste Management has yet again expanded the items that are included in its single-stream recycling program, which means that most Keys residents can put more in their bins.

Here's the list of acceptable items:

  • Plastics: Nos. 1 through 7. Leave the caps on bottles and jugs.
  • Gable-top cartons (usually milk or juice containers).
  • Aseptic containers (usually used for products like soup, juice and soymilk).
  • Aluminum pans, trays and foil that have been wiped clean.
  • Metal: Aluminum, tin and steel cans.
  • Glass: Clear, brown or green bottles and jars (without caps or lids).
  • Paper: Newspapers and inserts, magazines, junk mail, paper, catalogs, phone books, cardboard and paperboard.
  • Just a reminder that single-stream recycling means you can mingle everything together loose in your bin before putting it at the curb. It's sorted once it arrives at its destination, a high-tech materials recycling facility in Pembroke Pines.

    The county's recycling coordinator, Colleen Murphy, wrote that the expanded recycling is possible because of upgrades in the facility's sorting capabilities. Some of the recycled plastic — now seven types, instead of the previous three — will be made into pallets.

    Aseptic packages are made of layers of cardboard, polyethylene plastic and aluminum; gable-top cartons are made of layers of paper and plastic. Murphy says both types can be recycled by "hydropulping," which separates the layers to recover the paper content.

    All recyclables should be empty and reasonably clean when placed in your bin, Murphy writes, because it improves marketability and helps control pest problems. Anything that has food or grease on it, such as a pizza box or greasy foil from the bottom of the grill, is still on the do-not-recycle list.

    So why does a change at Waste Management affect folks whose recycling is picked up by Marathon Garbage Service, for instance? Waste Management operates the facility that receives all but Islamorada's recyclables.

    Also benefiting from the new recycling options are people served by Keys Sanitary Services and Ocean Reef Solid Waste.

    None of the additions required a change in the contracts with the county or the city of Key West, said Waste Management's Greg Sullivan.

    For a downloadable brochure that you can share with your neighbors, visit

    For Islamorada, download the list from