Recycling in Santa Rosa County, Florida is Finally Here!

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recycling in Santa Rosa county starts April 7th.

Bales of recyclable materials are stacked and prepared to be sold
Bales of recyclable materials are stacked and prepared to be sold

Great news for fans of the planet – Wednesday, April 7th is the first pickup day for our recycling routes in Santa Rosa County! We are excited to offer this service and are even more excited that almost 1,000 people in our initial service area (The greater Pace area) signed up for the service!

You will see us running our routes Wednesday in the areas, picking up our yellow-topped carts to collect your paper, cardboard, *certain* plastics and metals. 

We will go a little bit further into just what you can recycle with our service.

In today’s post, you find info about:

  • The recycling program generally
  • What can and can’t be recycled
  • When recycling will start for Adams Sanitation Customers not currently in the Santa Rosa County Recycling area
  • How you can get us to bring recycling to your area sooner
  • What days we will come to your area to pick up recycling! 

Does my recycling get thrown into the trash at Adams Sanitation?

ECUA's Cantonment, Florida Facility from a drone's eye view. The facility is located right next to ECUAs landfill in Cantonment
ECUA’s Cantonment, Florida Facility from a drone’s eye view. The facility is located right next to ECUAs landfill in Cantonment


…You probably want us to elaborate 🙂

Recyclable products that you throw into your recycling bin every other Wednesday are going to the ECUA Facility in Cantonment, Florida to be processed and then sold to people who use them to create new products. 

Here is a video of the recycling plant at work:

The plant is massive – and is under a bubble-like structure that protects the machinery and workers from the elements. It is also right next door to the landfill, so that is why the recycling trucks are headed in that direction. Don’t let the conspiracy theorists con you – the recycling is getting recycled.

Nathan ventures into the ECUA Recycling facility
Nathan ventures into the ECUA Recycling facility. The facility recycles paper, metal, plastic and cardboard.

What can and can’t be recycled with Adams Sanitation in Okaloosa and Santa Rosa Counties?

Recycling workers working
Recycling workers (recyclists?) sort through product.

So what can and can’t be recycled here in northwest Florida? Well, what can and cannot be recycled is based on who is doing the recycling. Currently, Adams Sanitation utilizes the ECUA facility in Cantonment to process and sell recyclables. You can see how the process works in this video.

Because of the crash in the recyclables market initiated by the Chinese government about three years ago – certain recyclables – especially plastics – are not valuable right now – which is why the cost of recycling has gone from $0 for the average consumer to a monthly costs. You can learn more about that issue on this post we made a couple of weeks ago. 

Every regional recycling facility is different in terms of what they can and cannot process and sell as recyclable material. We could go to another facility, but the next nearest facility is in Montgomery. This facility does not recycle much more than ECUA’s facility does and costs about an extra $40 a ton to haul up to central Alabama. We learned how much more expensive it was in the aftermath of Hurricane Sally last year. Check out this video to learn more about how Okaloosa County had to deal with the fallout from the damage of the ECUA facility in Cantonment last October.

In other words there is almost no benefit to recycling elsewhere and plenty of financial costs and environmental costs (those haulers are using fossil fuels, after all) that remove other recycling facilities from the equation.

A man next to blocks of recyclables
Nathan stands next to the latest batch of processed recycling at the ECUA Cantonment facility. The recyclables are shipped across the country to be repurposed into new products.

So what can be recycled?

photo inside recycling facility
A look at the elevator inside the recycling facility.

Well, luckily there is a graphic that shows exactly what you can and can’t recycle through the ECUA facility that I was able to create when I worked for Okaloosa County as part of their recycling marketing. 

The hardest part to remember is that you have to check each of the plastics that you want to put in the recycling for a #1 or a #2 inside the recycling rectangle otherwise, it’s #wishcycling and #wishcycling is infinitely worse than throwing a suspect plastic into the trash. When you throw a non-recyclable plastic into the recycling – it’s still going to get to the landfill, it just costs more to get it there – and all of us end up footing the cost to get it there. It’s part of the reason that imports of recyclable material were banned and the reason recycling has gotten much more expensive.

When will recycling start in Jay, parts of Milton and other areas not currently served?

The short answer is, “We are not entirely sure, but sooner rather than later.” We need to plan out the expansion of our recycling service carefully, because it is not at all profitable – and poses a very real threat to the continued existence of Adams Sanitation. We want to make sure our families get fed and the lights stay on, so we have to 1. Make sure that the routes are planned with maximum efficiency in mind and 2. We reach a critical mass for sign ups before we actually start service in an area. This means the rollout might be a little bit slower than both you and we would like, but we promise we are working as hard as possible to make sure that recycling is available to you as soon as possible. 

Which brings us to the next question – 

How can I make recycling start in my area sooner?

We are big on customer polls and feedback. For that reason we have this survey that we ask that you take about a minute to fill out. The survey will let us gauge interest in the areas we don’t currently serve, so that we can figure out where we need to expand to next! 

What days does Adams Sanitation pick up Recycling?

Adams Sanitation picks up recycling every other Wednesday for each customer. Residents in the 32571 zip code will have their recycling picked up on April 7th. Members of the recycling zone that are not in that zip code will have their first pickup on the 14th! 

Christopher Saul is the Chief Marketing Officer for Adams Sanitation. When he isn’t slinging hot garbage from the keyboard – he is spending time with his family. He also like to watch his SMU Mustangs play football and basketball. 

Santa’s Comin’ to Town! (Christmas/New Year’s Trash Schedule)

It’s the Christmas season and we want to give you plenty of heads up about our schedule between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day – as there are going to be a lot of changes for that week. Thank you for understanding and allowing us to spend a little bit of time with our families to celebrate the Christmas season!

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    • Christopher Saul


      thank you for giving us a shout! I will reach out to our Customer Service Team and ask them to figure out what is going on.

      • Daryl

        We have the half gallon milk containers and have been putting them in with recycling. Should we put them in or not? They are like wax covered paperboard. Let me know if we need to discontinue recycling them.

        • Christopher Saul

          Hi Daryl,

          Thank you for asking this question – it’s one of those ‘grey areas’. Here in our area, we cannot recycle waxy paper milk cartons!

  • Robert Hoffman

    What about aluminum cat food cans? They have a white inner liner, I think it is plastic, makes those cans not recyclable.

  • Elizabeth Lipford

    Same here! I received the email confirmation but we never received our bin. Am anxious to start recycling again!

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