Like most U.S. cities today, environmental issues are an ever greater concern for Orlando and Orange County residents. Clean water, clean air and clean places for our kids to play outside, are basic necessities for a good quality of life. Recent laws have made recycling in Orlando mandatory, but still significantly more trash ends up in the landfill every week than in our recycling carts. We all have many opportunities throughout the year to do more to keep toxic or unnecessary waste out of our landfills—and out of our water sources, soil, streets and parks. Ready to do your part to clean up Orlando? Use this Orange County recycling guide to find the right recycling drop offs for about any material.
Orlando is working hard to make it easier for households to get by without owning a car. However, until car-sharing and other programs really take off, our city still has to do deal with a significant amount of automotive waste. Disposing of these substances safely is very important, since most automotive waste contains chemicals that are either hazardous to the environment or require massive quantities of scarce resources to produce. (They often contain both.) Automotive waste should never be thrown out in the regular trash. To keep our city clean and healthy, you need to know the proper alternatives. Use this list to find Orange County recycling options for all your automotive waste.
Car batteries are a cocktail of toxic substances like lead and mercury. Those same metals that enable the battery to power your vehicle can quickly poison soil and water if that battery is tossed out in the landfill with your everyday trash. Never put an old car battery out at the curb.
Ideally, you should only buy as much gas at one time as you can safely use. But if you do find yourself with old gasoline to dispose of, it’s essential that you do so safely in order to avoid fires or the contamination of soil and water. NEVER throw gasoline out with your household trash, pour it down a drain or mix it with any other fluids.
Automotive fluids contain chemicals that are harmful to both people and animals. In fact, even a small amount of any one of these fluids can easily pollute hundreds of gallons of water. If you’ve got old bottles of automotive fluids or used oil hanging around, don’t throw them in the trash, mix them with each other or pour them down a drain or sewer.
Many people don’t realize it, but tires are considered hazardous waste, meaning that they can’t be handled in the same way as regular household junk. Instead of compressing and decomposing, a tire in a landfill will slowly build up with methane gas until it finally bursts, causing damage and releasing this toxic gas into the air.
Construction & Remodeling Debris
Upgrading your home is a great way to impress all your friends with your mad DIY skills while creating a more inviting environment and boosting your home’s value all at the same time. Of course, creating a beautiful finished product usually requires making a pretty big mess. If you plan to clean up that mess by tossing it all into a dumpster rental, you're missing an opportunity to give back to the Orlando community. There's plenty of construction materials that can be reused or recycled. Take a look at some of recycling drop offs our city offers.
When it’s time to replace worn out shingles, there are multiple options for disposal. Shingles aren’t hazardous, but they do require plenty of oil and other natural resources to produce. By recycling old shingles or donating usable ones, we can conserve valuable resources and landfill space.
A good quality carpet can last many years, but all carpeting will eventually begin to show wear. When it's time for a change, you’re going to have to decide what to do with the old carpet you’re tearing up. It’s true that carpet isn’t hazardous to the environment, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it belongs in a landfill.
A simple coat of paint can transform a previously drab space into one you can’t wait to show off. However, it’s easy for a non-professional to overestimate how much paint they’ll need to finish the job. Oil based paints contain toxic chemicals, so never pour leftover paint down a drain or throw it out in the regular trash.
Metal doesn’t biodegrade, meaning it eats up landfill space that should be reserved for more suitable materials. Mining for metals and refining them also requires huge quantities of fossil fuels and often damages nearby ecosystems. By recycling scrap metal we conserve both resources and landfill space. Plus, most recycling centers will pay you for your scrap!
E-waste is a growing problem in many cities throughout the country and Orlando is no exception. As electronics become obsolete faster than ever before, and as we decide to replace old appliances with newer, and perhaps more energy efficient, models, our landfills are beginning to burst at the seams with this ever-growing waste category. More importantly, while most of us don’t think of our electronics and appliances as hazardous, the fact of the matter is that they contain a slew of harmful substances, including lead and mercury. If we don’t want more landfills, poisoned water or polluted soil, we need to do our part to make sure e-waste is handled properly. Luckily, we've rounded up plenty of Orange County recycling centers that can take your e-waste off your hands.
Many computer and cellphone components, like CPUs and motherboards, are made from toxic metals. In other words, constructing a computer or cellphone uses up valuable resources that ought to be conserved whenever possible, while disposing of a computer or cellphone introduces hazardous materials to the environment when not handled properly.
Like many of our household electronics, TVs contain lead, cadmium and other heavy metals that can contaminate water and soil. This can become a poisonous cocktail for Orlando wildlife, not to mention Orlando citizens, when TVs aren't disposed of properly. For the health of our community, it’s essential to get rid of old TVs the right way.
From the major stuff like ovens and washing machines to the smaller gadgets, the average home contains more appliances than people. And all of them require care when it's time to discard them. Appliances contain large quantities of plastics and various metals, substances that should be conserved or repurposed whenever possible.
A category as diverse as each of our homes. This is the category of waste that you deal with the most frequently: the every day stuff that you probably never think twice about setting out at the curb. Well, it turns out that you really should start thinking twice about many of these items. Some of them are toxic to the environment and should never end up in a landfill. Others can easily be put to use by a neighbor in need, conserving both landfill space and important resources. So, this garbage night, double check this list of recycling drop offs for many of the items you might have been about to toss out.
In a landfill, mattresses often create pockets of space larger than their actual dimensions. So, every mattress we throw out brings us closer to needing more landfills—which no Orlando citizen wants. A clean mattress can be donated, while the components that make up an unusable mattress can be recycled into a huge array of new products.
If your old clothing is still in good condition, donating it not only conserves landfill space but helps those in need. The same goes for bedding. Why toss those things in the trash when you could help someone who’s struggling create a comfortable home for their family.
Medicines can contaminate the water system or be accidentally ingested, causing potentially severe health consequences. Sharps carry an even greater risk of spreading serious diseases. Absolutely NO medical waste should ever be thrown out with your household trash, flushed down the toilet or poured down a drain.
Citywide, organic matter like food makes up 24% of our overall waste. Unused, nonperishable food can always be donated to help the hungry rather than tossed in a landfill where it does nobody any good. Even leftovers and foods that can’t be donated can be composted and turned into healthy new soil rather than left to rot in the landfill.
For Everything Else
For any items that can’t be donated or repurposed through Orange County recycling, consult this list of landfills and transfer stations throughout the city and county. Note that most of these sites will not accept hazardous waste.
Orange County Landfill
5901 Young Pine Rd, Orlando FL
Porter Road Transfer Station
1326 Good Homes Rd, Orlando, FL
L.B. McLeod Road Transfer Station
5000 L.B. McLeod Rd, Orlando FL
Recall SDS Recycling Center
2095 Premier Row, Orlando, FL
Keene Road Recycling and Disposal
2613 McQueen Rd., Apopka, FL
320 Enterprise St., Ocoee, FL
Pine Ridge Recycling and Disposal Facility
5400 Rex Road, Winter Garden, FL
Sustainable Success Stories in Orlando
Orlando has already made great strides toward addressing many of the environmental issues we face. Hopefully, this guide has made it easier for you to recycle or donate the goods you no longer need in order to help us make even greater strides toward a clean, green, healthy community. But while our citizens are doing their part, we need the local businesses that have such a major impact on our city to step up to the plate too. These local businesses, while tackling different industries, are all walking the walk of not only bringing new innovations and jobs to Orlando but doing so in a sustainable manner.
First Green Bank Puts Its Money Where Its Sustainability Is
Headquartered in Orlando and with branches throughout central Florida, First Green Bank is very nearly one of a kind: a traditional community bank with a very non-traditional commitment to environmental responsibility. This is true both of how First Green Bank runs its internal operations and how it serves its customers and community. All First Green Bank branches are either housed in existing structures that have been completely updated for energy efficiency or have been built from scratch with energy efficiency and sustainability in mind.
They’ve been so successful at championing paperless statements, remote deposits and online bill pay that 90% of their customers are now totally paperless. First Green Bank also champions environmental causes by offering discounted interest rates for LEED certified building projects, and their nonprofit “First Green Foundation" assists community members in installing solar panels, supports local agriculture, and helps fund local water protection initiatives.
The Mustard Seed Recycles for More Than the Good of the Environment
The Mustard Seed is a charity that provides assistance to families that have lost their homes due to fires, natural disasters, or from fleeing situations of domestic violence. As a nonprofit, they depended on charitable donations to fund the good work they do for the community. After 25 years of helping Orlando families recover from seemingly insurmountable setbacks, the recession and its aftermath dealt a major blow to The Mustard Seed’s financing.
With donations disappearing, they turned to the growing field of mattress recycling as a last ditch effort to keep their doors open. The Mustard Seed began breaking mattresses down into their various components, selling them to companies that will repurpose them into products as diverse as carpet padding and car engines. Today, the Mustard Seed has become a major mattress recycling hub, not only keeping tons of debris out of landfills every year, but making enough profit in the process to expand their charitable offerings.