Gainesville Zero Waste News

Lighting the Way for Recycling Right

piece of yellow paper made to look like a light bulb Figuring out if something is recyclable or not can be confusing. Don’t worry, you're not alone. Thankfully, the City of Gainesville created a helpful online guide to remove all the guesswork. Now, you can become a beacon of recycling know-how and share this information with friends, family, and neighbors.

Read the guide and still didn’t find the answers you were looking for? Try the magic of the Zero Waste Wizard, where you can blaze a path of knowledge by searching all different types of materials to find out if they are recyclable and where to take them for repair, reuse, or repurposing.

Shinning with new confidence, take a turn at playing Ready, Set, Sort!. This is a free online interactive game that is fun for all ages. So after you’ve played, challenge your young ones, or even your not-so-young ones, and test all your newfound knowledge in a colorful and engaging game that will light up all parts of your brain.

For anything else that lights your fire, head over to, and keep on lighting the path toward a cleaner tomorrow!

Recent Articles

Don’t Toss Out Those Old Holiday Lights – Recycle Them!

bundle of old holiday lights As the festive season draws near, many of us eagerly unpack boxes of holiday decorations, including strings of twinkling lights that have adorned our homes for years. If you discover lights that are no longer working or sets that are impossibly tangled, don’t toss them into your garbage – drop them off for recycling instead!

Residents may drop off their old sets of holiday lights for recycling at the City of Gainesville's Public Works offices located at 405 NW 39th Avenue through the end of January. Light strings with incandescent, LED, and “icicle” lights, wires, and the attached bulbs are accepted for recycling. No set of lights is too tangled for recycling.

Residents may also recycle old holiday lights year-round at any one of the Alachua County Drop-Off sites. For a complete list of drop-off locations, visit

Swapping out old incandescent lights can result in significant savings on your electricity bill. Opting for new LED lights is even better, as they consume 80-90% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. Additionally, LED lights have a lifespan of up to 100,000 hours, compared to just 3,000 hours for incandescent lights.

A friendly reminder: Do NOT place holiday lights in your home recycle bins.

Championing the Planet: America Recycles Day is on November 15th

America Recycles Day Nov. 15 Wednesday, November 15th is America Recycles Day! In an era defined by rampant consumerism and resource exploitation, the significance of recycling cannot be overstated. Recycling is a crucial pillar in the global effort to promote sustainable practices and combat our planet's environmental challenges. America Recycles Day is an opportune moment to underscore the importance of recycling and renew our commitment to safeguarding the Earth for future generations.

Recycling is more than just a buzzword; it represents a fundamental shift in our approach to waste management and conservation. When you recycle materials like paper, plastic, glass, and metal, you help to reduce the strain on natural resources and the energy expended on capturing new raw materials. This process significantly lowers greenhouse gas emissions, curbs pollution, and mitigates the detrimental impact of resource extraction on fragile ecosystems. Moreover, recycling is a tangible demonstration of responsible citizenship, reflecting a conscientious effort to preserve the Earth's delicate balance.

Established by Keep America Beautiful, America Recycles Day is a national initiative aimed at encouraging individuals, communities, and businesses to embrace recycling and integrate it into their daily lives. It serves as a timely reminder that each of us has a crucial role to play in preserving our environment.

Let’s seize the opportunity presented by America Recycles Day to reaffirm our commitment to building a greener, more sustainable future for all.

Recycling Your Old Paint Is As Easy As 1-2-3

Two cans of old paint with some paint spilled on the paint can label Whether you've undertaken a large or small painting project, chances are you’ll end up with some leftover paint. If you find yourself with surplus paint, recycling that paint is as easy as 1-2-3 for Gainesville and Alachua County residents.

1. Verify That It Can Be Recycled

  • Paints accepted for recycling by Alachua County includes: latex (water-based), oil-based, enamel, acrylic, decking paint, primers, stains, varnishes, waterproofing paint, rust preventatives, and paint in spray cans. Paint thinners and solvents are also accepted.
  • Cans of latex paint with only small amounts left can be dried out and disposed of in your regular trash. Just pop the lid and let it sit out for a few days in a well-ventilated area.
  • Empty aerosol spray paint cans can be recycled in your blue bin.

2. Prep Before You Go

  • Check that all paint can lids are tightly shut to prevent spills during transportation.
  • Make sure each container has a label that identifies what material is inside. If the original label is missing, write the contents clearly on the side of the container.

3. Drop-off Locations

By recycling your unused paint, you're actively contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable environment for the entire community.

How To Opt-Out & Stop Junk Mail

stack of junk mail in front of a metal mailbox Each year, over 1 billion pounds of unsolicited advertisements get delivered to mailboxes across America, and most of it ends up in landfills. While recycling junk mail is far better than tossing it in the garbage, preventing the creation of all that wasted paper in the first place can save millions of trees.

Here are some quick fixes to reduce the constant stream of junk mail you’re getting:

To remove your name from mailing lists and opt-out of receiving unwanted, such as catalogs and promotional offers:

To stop credit card offers from major credit bureaus:

To learn more about stopping unwanted mail, visit

The Magic of the Zero Waste Wizard

graphic of a wizard in gray cloke with a wand and laptop Don’t know what to do with all your extra empty potion jars, broken staffs, and dusty witches’ hats lying around? Simply, visit and ask your friendly Zero Waste Wizard to concoct a spell of responsible waste disposal!

The Zero Waste Wizard is the most reliable, up-to-date means for getting locally focused information on recycling, disposal, and reuse. City staff is constantly hitting the books at the School of Wizardry to keep the Zero Waste Wizard current, using information supplied mainly by app users like you.

In addition to answering crucial questions like “Is this recyclable?” a peek into the crystal ball will tell you everything from where to repair items, donate household goods, or find local scrap metal professionals.

While we think the Waste Wizard possesses all the answers, this Sorcerer of Sorting is also humble, so if you ask a question that doesn’t yet have an answer, you can suggest the addition of new items to the database of zero waste knowledge.

When you want to vanquish the dreaded foes of waste, clutter, and junk, the Zero Waste Wizard will cast a spell of all-knowing and all-seeing, giving you the answers you seek. In a world of darkness and uncertainty – “What do I do with all this old stuff?!” – let light the way forward!

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