Monroe County contracts with four private franchise operators to provide recycling collection for the Keys, excluding the city of Key West and the Village of Islamorada. Each of the County's private franchise operators covers a specific area. View the map.
You do not need to sort your recyclable items. They are sorted at the Materials Recycling Facility. The 2019 Recycling Brochure has a description of the local service areas and the contact numbers for your neighborhood. Please call the appropriate company to determine your collection schedule for recycling and request a recycling bin if needed.
Place items in the recycling bin provided by the company serving your neighborhood or any other receptacle that is clearly marked with the word “Recycling” or the recycling symbol. Recycling bins should not weigh more than 50 pounds when full.
You can also drop off residential recycling items at no charge at Cudjoe Key Transfer Station (MM 21.5), Long Key Transfer Station (MM68), and Key Largo (CR905) Transfer Station.
Since the center is single stream, those recycling in the County do not need to separate papers and plastics. All recycling can be combined in the same 64-gallon provided container. Recycling from Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, and Collier counties are processed and sorted at the site, then put into bails and shipped to those who buy recycling. Each bail contains about 2,000 pounds of a sorted item.
In 2019, unincorporated Monroe County spent $554,300 on recycling haul out for 7,090 tons. Residentially, homeowners in unincorporated Monroe County are charged $402 a year for garbage and recycling collection.
Recycling could be confusing territory, especially with plastics. The recycling center accepts 1-5 but offered an easy way to remember what plastic can be recycled. Milk jugs, water bottles, and bath products all fall within the “if the neck is smaller than the body, it can be recycled.” Red Solo cups do not. And, always remember to remove the lid, which can also be recycled.
According to a municipal solid waste report, only 1 out of 3 plastic water bottles make it to a recycling center.
Recycling Dos and Donts
As always, tin, aluminum, cartons, cardboard, and newspaper are always accepted.
Reminders of things that CANNOT be recycled include, plastic grocery bags (can be brought back to grocery store), food waste, Styrofoam, furniture (even plastic outdoor furniture), toys, plastic planter containers (can be returned to garden store), garden hoses, hangers, electric wires, sporting goods, clothing, pots and pans, yard waste, hazardous materials and chemicals, and propane tanks, especially the small Coleman camping tanks. Remembering the things that cannot be recycled is extremely important because if more than 10 percent of the recycling is contaminated, it goes to the landfill instead!