Many people that are new to our area do not see a curbside recycling collection program and assume that Bay County does not have an established recycling program. This is a misconception. Bay County does recycle, we just utilize a method that many people may not be familiar with.
In Bay County, the primary method of recycling is through the Bay County Waste-to-Energy facility. A Waste-to-Energy facility, unlike an incinerator which just burns waste, extracts energy from the waste. A Waste-to-Energy facility is basically an electrical power plant that utilizes waste as a fuel source, versus coal or natural gas. With over 500 facilities, Waste-to Energy facilities are fairly common in Europe. In the United States, which only has 71 Waste-to-Energy facilities, they are still somewhat of a rarity.
In Bay County, almost all of the combustible household and commercial waste is processed at the WTE facility and is converted into electrical energy. The facility produces enough electrical power each year to power approximately 5,500 homes. The WTE combustion process is recognized by the State of Florida as a renewable resource and Bay County receives recycling credits for each megawatt of energy produced at the facility.
In addition to the electrical power generated from the combustion process, all of the metals, both ferrous and non-ferrous, are extracted from the ash residue and recycled. In 2015, because of the Waste-to-Energy Facility, Bay County’s recycling rate was just shy of 50%.
If you live in Bay County, when you throw waste into your kitchen garbage receptacle, the combustible materials such as food waste, plastics and paper are converted into energy and the empty cans of peas, soda, etc. are being recycled. Bay County has an almost 100% recycling participation rate by its citizens without having to mandate it.
As a general rule, unless the WTE facility is inoperable or is operating above rated capacity, the County landfill is only used as a repository for the ash residue left over from the combustion process or for the disposal of non-burnable materials that cannot be processed at the WTE. This dramatically increases the life of the landfill. The Bay County landfill was opened in 1987 and was expected to reach capacity in 2019. Because of the operation of the Waste-to-Energy facility, the last landfill life estimate extends the date that the landfill is expected to reach capacity out to 2047.
Conventional Recycle Program
Bay County also operates a conventional recycle program for those citizen's who wish to participate in conventional recycling. Bay County maintains 8 Recycle drop-off sites around different areas of un-incorporated Bay County. Each site has containers for Cardboard, Mixed Paper, Cans (both aluminum and tin) and plastics. For additional information, please see our Recycling Guide.
Please!! No Garbage at Recycling Sites
Please abide by all posted regulations, and do not leave garbage at recycling drop-off sites.
Please do not throw trash in recycling collection containers.
Contaminated loads cannot be recycled.
Waste Wi$e Description
Business Waste Reduction: Waste Wi$e is a partnership between the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and your business can help you commit to waste reduction, cost avoidance and recycling programs that really work. These are tried and true projects, programs and ideas free to you.
For questions or concerns, please call Bay County Recycling at 850-236-2211 or email us.