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Lee County Solid Waste introduces Keep Lee Plastic Free initiative

By Staff | Dec 24, 2018

Yard waste doesn’t belong in plastic bags, according to Lee County Solid Waste, which is encouraging all residents to resolve to Keep Lee Plastic Free and use paper bags or waste cans for their yard waste instead.

About 92 percent of residents already dispose of the yard waste properly, but the county wants to boost that number.

The Keep Lee Plastic Free initiative is designed to allow yard waste to be easily processed into usable compost or mulch. Paper bags easily biodegrade during the composting process, and waste cans can be easily emptied and reused. But yard waste in plastic bags has to be treated as garbage because plastic is not biodegradable and contaminates compost and mulch. Last year, 10,000 tons of yard waste was placed in plastic bags for collection, making the contents unusable. Paper bags for this use can be purchased at grocery stores and home improvement stores.

“This is a small step for residents, but makes a huge improvement when it comes to properly reusing yard waste,” Lee County Public Utilities Director Pam Keyes said. “It’s also critical for the health of our environment, which is what makes Lee County so attractive to our residents, tourists and new businesses.”

Yard waste includes grass clippings, tree limbs and branches, palm fronds, leaves, fallen fruit and dead plants and flowers. Using paper bags or waste cans instead of plastic bags to dispose of it will improve the quality of the mulch generated by Lee County Solid Waste, which is available for free at the following locations:

Bonita Springs: Imperial River Kayak Launch, 27551 S. Tamiami Trail.

Lehigh Acres: Lehigh Acres Community Park, 1400 W. Fifth St.

North Fort Myers: North Fort Myers Community Park, 2000 N. Recreation Park Way.

Pine Island: 6090 Masters Landing Drive, St. James City.

San Carlos Park: Three Oaks Park, 18251 Three Oaks Parkway.

Plastic-free yard waste will also enhance the OrganicLee compost Lee County Solid Waste produces to help homeowners spruce up their lawns and gardens. OrganicLee compost may be purchased at the Resource Recovery Facility, 10500 Buckingham Road, and the Topaz Court Solid Waste Annex, 6441 Topaz Court in Fort Myers, for $2.45 plus tax per 20-pound bag. Bulk quantities of up to 20 cubic yards of compost can also be purchased at the Buckingham location.

Visit keepleeplasticfree.com for information about yard waste collection and ways to make the switch away from plastic bags.

About Lee County Solid Waste

Lee County Solid Waste seeks to ensure the health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of Lee County by providing a responsible and economical solid waste management system. The agency, a division of the Lee County Public Utilities Department, has established a track record of success. Including energy recovered from the agency’s Waste To Energy Facility, Lee County is on track to meet Florida’s 75 percent recycling goal by 2020. Lee County Solid Waste plans to continue implementing programs that make recycling, resource recovery and responsible waste management easier and pledges to strive for even more effective and sustainable solutions for the future. Learn more at leegov.com/solidwaste.