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Curbside residential garbage collection service will remain at two (2) days a week in unincorporated Palm Beach County when the new contract takes effect on Oct. 1, 2019.
Residential curbside service will change from the current manual collection system to automated/semi-automated residential curbside garbage collection service in unincorporated Palm Beach County when the new contract takes effect on Oct. 1, 2019.
Automated service involves a truck equipped with a mechanical arm that extends and dumps a special cart designed for the truck. The truck requires one person operating the arm from inside the truck cab.
Semi-automated service is a truck equipped with two (2) mechanical flippers located on the back of a rear load truck. This truck requires two (2) employees (usually a driver and helper) and eliminates the current manual lifting element of the job.
There are special heavy-duty carts compatible with the haulers automated or semi-automated collection equipment. The hauler awarded the seven (7) year contract is responsible for purchasing, delivering, and as necessary, repairing and replacing these carts.
An example of an automated collection truck
The SWA would expect the majority of customers in unincorporated Palm Beach County would prefer the 96 gallon cart based on the average weekly volumes reported by the current service providers. SWA staff will be working with gated or HOA communities within unincorporated Palm Beach County to identify the cart size preference (48, 65 or 96 gallon cart) for the majority of the residents.
The only cart requests being taken at this time are for those residents who are:
All new garbage carts should have already been delivered to residents in unincorporated Palm Beach County for start of the new collection contract as of Oct. 1, 2019. Each cart should have contained a pamphlet explaining the service requirements and proper placement of the container for curbside collection. Additional mailers were sent with your new collection days.
If you have not received your new garbage cart, you can:
Special attention will be given to these inquiries.
If you are not sure of your new collection days, you can check them on the My Collection Days link
The hauler awarded the seven (7) year contract is responsible for purchasing, delivering, and as necessary, repairing and replacing the special heavy duty carts compatible with the haulers automated or semi-automated collection equipment. So, if your cart is damaged, call SWA Customer Service at 561-697-2700 to request a repair.
All garbage is required to be placed within the container on both scheduled collection days in unincorporated Palm Beach County. It garbage is left outside of the cart, it will not be collected.
Haulers are only required to collect additional garbage and trash placed outside the cart due to additional waste generated following the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
In unincorporated Palm Beach County, bulk items (furniture, appliances, etc.) will be collected one (1) day per week on the second scheduled garbage collection day of the week. Bulk collection is limited to three (3) items per pick up.
To check your bulk collection day, enter your address on the My Pick Up Days page.
There are no changes to the recycling collection service in unincorporated Palm Beach County. Recycling collection will be provided one day per week. The yellow bin is for paper products and blue bin for commingle containers (aluminum, steel cans, plastic containers and glass bottles and jars).
Yard waste collection service will be provided one time per week in unincorporated Palm Beach County. This service is limited to normal residential yard waste maintenance, such as grass cutting, tree pruning, palm frond cutting, hedge trimming, etc. The service is not intended for debris related to land clearing or tree removal.
Yard waste service will be limited to six (6) cubic yards per week and no more than six (6) cubic yards may be placed at the curb.
All small yard waste debris (leaves, clippings, hedge trimmings, etc.) must be containerized. We strongly encourage residents to use their current garbage containers for small yard waste debris for the new contract effective Oct. 1, 2019. Plastic bags are acceptable, however the Authority would like to discourage their use. A significant amount of the yard waste is ground to produce mulch. Much of this mulch can be land applied on agricultural fields, however the plastic bags contaminate the mulch, which is problematic.
Branches and palm fronds may be placed neatly outside the container. While there is no limit on the length of palm fronts, branches may not exceed six (6) feet in length or six (6) inches in diameter and no single piece or container may exceed fifty (50) pounds. It is important to remember that the bulk of this material is picked up by hand, and material that exceeds these limits presents a risk to the collection personnel and cannot be collected.
The contractor will not remove any yard waste piles exceeding the 6 cubic yard limit. The contractor will place a tag on the pile informing the customer of their options.
The resident will be responsible for having piles exceeding six (6) cubic yards or containing tree removal debris, large branches or stumps removed at their own cost in a timely manner to avoid further action. The SWA can assist the homeowner in identifying alternatives, including providing an estimate for the contractor to remove the material for an additional fee of $8 per cubic yard. The homeowner is free to contract with anyone they wish to remove the material.
Many retailers also accept rechargeable batteries For additional locations, call 800-8-BATTERY, or check earth911.org. Earth911
Large quantities are accepted only at the staffed HCRC facilities. The fuel must be from your own, personal use boat or generator. Please note: We do not allow siphoning on our property, nor will we empty a drum for you.
Electronics often contain small amounts of hazardous materials such as mercury and lead that are completely safe within the product but may pose environmental risks when disposed. Fortunately electronics are also easily recycled.
The SWA has a fee-based program for what are known as "Very Small Quantity Generators" (VSQG). You must complete and submit an application and an inventory of your material must be received before you can schedule a delivery. For more information on this program see the Small Business disposal area in this website or call 561-687-1100.
Applications are found for each individual job posting by clicking "Apply" on the Career Opportunities page. Applications need to be filled out completely, even if you attach a résumé. Do not state "see résumé" when asked to describe your responsibilities, experience and employment dates. Your qualifications will be evaluated on the basis of information you provide on the application. Your résumé will be reviewed for clarification purposes only. If you are completing a physical application and need more space to describe additional work experience relevant to the position, continue on a separate page.
No, you will not be automatically considered. You may apply for future careers with the SWA by logging into your account. Your information should be saved, so you will only need to update any changes in your application to apply for future openings.
The SWA arranges for collection of debris from routine yard maintenance all year long however, residents should make arrangements to have their contractor dispose of debris from tree removal and other major trimming. If residents choose to do their own major cutting they will need to bring the debris to the SWA landfill located in West Palm Beach or an SWA permitted facility. There is a fee for disposal.
All other lawn trimmings (pine cones, pine needles, leaves, small hedge clipping, etc.) also need to be bagged or canned in groups that weigh less than 50 lbs. and placed out with yard waste pick up.
The Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County provides garbage and recycling collection for the residents and businesses of unincorporated Palm Beach County. The SWA provides this service using contract haulers. The County is divided into Service Areas, each of which is awarded to an individual hauler that has the exclusive right to provide service in accordance with the Service Guidelines in their contract.
Your service is our primary concern. That is why the SWA has a team of Customer Information Service Area Coordinators and Customer Service Representatives ready to assist you with service quality issues and to answer your questions.
If you live in unincorporated Palm Beach County and have a collection problem or concern, you can contact Customer Information Services at 561-697-2700, or toll-free from southern and western Palm Beach County at 866-SWA-INFO (866-792-4636). You can also contact us online.
If you live in a municipality, please contact your city. As a courtesy, we have compiled a list of municipal contacts.
Public Records Custodian:
561-640-4000 ext. 4606
7501 N. Jog Road
West Palm Beach, FL 33412
Submit a Public Records Request online»
To request verbally, call 561-640-4000 and ask for Kathy Levas (ext. 4606) during regular business hours of 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
To request in writing, complete the form and email it, fax it (Fax: 561-640-3400) or mail to:
Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County Records Custodian 7501 N. Jog Road West Palm Beach, FL 33412
The Solid Waste Authority regrets any inconvenience this may cause.
Many plastic products have the triangle made of arrows with a number in the middle. The number in the triangle symbol tells you only the kind of plastic an item is - it cannot tell you whether or not it is recycled in your local program.
To search what recyclable in Palm Beach County, visit Is This Recyclable?
Here is a handy chart explaining the numbers and the types of plastics:
For example, a large container may be marked with a #2, telling us it's made of high density polyethylene. But that's all it can tell us: the symbol can't tell you whether not a particular item is recyclable in a specific recycling program.
In Palm Beach County, plastic containers that are smaller than 2 gallons and marked with #1 through #7 are recyclable. This includes plastic restaurant takeout containers, laundry detergent jugs, soda bottles, yogurt cups, butter tubs and disposable party cups.
The one exception to this is foam containers, usually marked with #6. They are not recyclable in your blue or yellow bins. These should go back to your local grocer for recycling or placed in your garbage to be reused into energy.
If it is very large and not in a usable condition, it may be brought to any of our six transfer stations or to the Customer Convenience drop-off at our landfill in West Palm Beach. To drop it off, travel on to the tipping floor after going through the scale house. There will be a very nominal fee.
If the mirror is in good condition, you could donate to a secondhand shop, Resource Depot (561-882-0090) or to a construction reuse store like the Habitat for Humanity Restore.
It's true that some news reports state that certain recycled materials are all just being dumped as general waste. First, let’s better understand the background of the current disruption in recycling markets.
In 2013, China implemented Operation Green Fence, a policy in which incoming loads of scrap material were intensively inspected, and therefore enforcing Article 12 that was issued in April 2011. As a result of this, the recycling industry had to evaluate and improve its recycling practices and adjust to the new market conditions.
In 2017, China let the world know that it would be making additional changes to its policies to prohibit the entry of foreign waste in an effort to improve environmental conditions in China, and, specifically, reduce the unlawful disposal of waste from both domestic and foreign sources. These changes were an effort to bring about more stringent regulations and enforcement against illegal commerce conducted by unlicensed brokers, traders and others, who combine municipal solid waste (regular garbage) with paper and/or plastic recyclables destined for China.
So, starting in January 2018, China banned the import of 23 different types of wastes. The two types of banned imported wastes that specifically impacted the recycling market were mixed paper and mixed plastics. Then, in March 2018, China imposed a contamination level of 0.5% for incoming recyclable materials when an internationally recognized set of specifications for paper contamination is between 3%-5%. This is an even more challenging specification to meet.
In the United States, the industry trend has been toward single stream recycling, where all recyclables are placed in one large cart. Unfortunately, this process has increased the contamination in the recycling stream to 25%-30% or more. To get to the 0.5% specification that China imposed is just about impossible with the current technology and processing systems in place.
Here in Palm Beach County, the Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County (SWA) uses a dual stream, or two bin, recycling program. The yellow bin is for paper and cardboard; the blue bin is for plastic, glass and metal food containers. By separating the recyclables in this manner, our contamination level is about 8%-9%, which still presents a challenge as far as meeting the lower contamination standard.
As the uncertainty of the market hit in January 2018, we did have to stockpile mixed plastics and find alternative methods of disposing of paper. While we did not landfill any recycled material, we made a decision to recover the energy and we sent a small number of bales of mixed plastic and bales of mixed paper to our Renewable Energy Facility 2 to maintain a safe inventory level at the Recovered Materials Processing Facility.
At this same time, single stream recycling facilities from around the country were in a much different situation. They may not have had a waste to energy option and may have had to landfill their recyclables. This is where many of the most alarming news stories came from. The hardest hit areas seemed to be on the western coast of the US.
Since the China import ban occurred, the SWA has explored all options to sell our recyclable commodities both domestically and internationally. As a dual stream system, our material is preferred. And, with the falling pricing, both the domestic and international markets are looking for good material at good prices to maximize their supply at minimum costs. Through our brokers, we have been successful in opening several non-China Asian markets, including Vietnam, and those in South America. The low pricing has also opened opportunities in India. On the domestic side, we have been able to secure an agreement with a major paper mill that establishes a minimum and maximum price for our mixed paper. This agreement provides for the guaranteed movement of this paper product for 12 months, which stabilizes our movement and minimizes our pricing risk.
More recently, there has historically been an oversupply of glass in Florida. Most recycling programs in the state pay to have the glass taken away. Some programs have, or are considering, dropping glass from their recycling program completely. Our glass has been taken by a company on the west coast of Florida at no cost to us. They further process it by washing and color separating, it is then sold to other companies for various products including glass bottles, jars, etc., fiberglass insulation, sand blasting grit and other applications. There was a period of several months in 2018 when this company could not take our glass material. During that time, we landfilled some and modified our processing equipment to produce a gravel like material that our landfill operations personnel used in the course of building roads and for drainage on the landfill. In early 2019, the company resumed taking our material.
China’s ban on accepting mixed plastics, which contain multiple different grades and types of plastic containers, has caused a major oversupply in the US and the value has dropped to $0. We have literally been giving mixed plastics away. However, the movement is slow. When our storage space is full and there are safety concerns, we have again diverted a small amount of recyclable material to our waste to energy facility where it is converted into electricity and sold to FPL. Our revenue for this material averages approximately $20 per ton. We are fortunate that the waste to energy facilities give us the opportunity to recover the energy from this material and generate revenue.
There is no doubt that the Chinese ban has had a major negative impact on the recycling industry worldwide and has caused unprecedented problems. So far, the impact to our system here in Palm Beach County has been much less than on he majority of counties in the state. The material sent to waste to energy facilities during these two periods is less than 0.4% of our annual bale inventory weight.
We appreciate and share concerns regarding the challenges faced by the recycling industry and are committed to doing everything reasonably possible to maintain our program and meet the expectations of our residents.
The integrated solid waste management system includes many services that benefit residents, both directly and indirectly. These include home chemical and recycling centers, the landfill, recycling facilities, renewable energy facilities, transfer stations, and yard waste processing facilities. These facilities are all operated in accordance with significant Federal and State regulations, and are subject to extensive monitoring and reporting. The rates our county residents and businesses pay reflect the cost of the entire system.
In using supplemental waste, we are providing limited access to our system for waste delivered directly to the Renewable Energy Facility 2, and only for a limited time.
Once the Renewable Energy Facility 2 is at capacity, estimated in 2022, the traffic on this part of North Jog Road will include these 60 additional daily trips, whether we use supplemental waste now or not, and that traffic will be well within the ultimate road design capacity.
Right now, we receive almost 500 loads, or 1,000 trips per day. Palm Beach County Traffic Division projects more than 6,300 trips per day on Jog Road in 2015 from all residential and commercial traffic, and Jog Road is designed to handle this traffic. The additional 30 loads (or 60 trips) will have no discernible traffic impact.
In addition, our contract with the facility operator contains a specific performance guarantee related to noise that they are required to meet. The decision to use supplemental waste until the facility is at capacity on Palm Beach County waste will have no impact on the noise generated by the facility, which will be operating whether or not we use supplemental waste.
The Solid Waste Authority already receives and processes approximately 1.7 million tons of waste per year. The additional waste represents a small amount (up to 200,000 tons initially and declining over time) when compared to what we already receive.
This use of supplemental waste opportunity is temporary. The material will be delivered directly to Renewable Energy Facility 2 and not the landfill. Ultimately, with Palm Beach County’s estimated population growth, the Solid Waste Authority will be receiving the same amount of material from Palm Beach County residents after 2022, but not at a cost savings to residents.
Air emissions from the facility are monitored in a number of ways. Renewable Energy Facility 2 has a number of Continuous Emissions Monitors (CEM), required by our permits, which sample and analyze air quality on a continuous basis. In addition, there are quarterly and annual emission tests required to demonstrate the performance of the emissions control equipment and Renewable Energy Facility 2’s compliance with emissions standards. All of this information will be recorded and reported to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).
The Solid Waste Authority permits also require us to self-report to FDEP if there is any upset condition or performance that impacts emissions. There is a potential for significant penalties for exceeding emission limits and failing to report them, both as fines and penalties. If permit requirements are deliberately violated, there are potential civil or criminal penalties for Solid Waste Authority managers individually.
In addition, there is university-sponsored research under way investigating the potential for reuse of most or all of the ash that we currently landfill, just like ash from coal-fired power plants is used in the manufacturing of concrete. If this research proves successful, the life of the Solid Waste Authority’s landfill may be dramatically extended, bringing us closer to the potential of 0 landfill by 2046.
The Solid Waste Authority expects the recycling rate to increase. Even if the imported material has already been through a recycling process, Renewable Energy Facility 2 will have extensive metals recovery systems that will remove any residual metals from the ash prior to it being placed in the landfill.
In addition, the State of Florida counts waste delivered to a Renewable Energy facility towards the state’s 75% Recycling goal, and the state provides one ton of recycling credit for each megawatt hour of energy produced.
Waste is collected for unincorporated Palm Beach County residents on all holidays except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. There is not make-up day, but the collection days following those holidays are the only times when waste placed outside of the garbage cart will be collected.
Find your collection schedule and set reminders»
Curbside garbage collection service is provided twice a week to residents in unincorporated Palm Beach County. Collection is from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. All waste must be placed at the curb by 6 a.m. on the scheduled day.
All garbage must be placed inside the wheeled cart provided by the contracted waste hauler. Any garbage bags or other debris that is placed outside the cart will be left and must be placed inside the cart for collection on the following scheduled service day.
Place the cart in front of your own home. Remember:
If the collection truck causes the damage or damage is the result of normal wear, the damaged cart will be repaired or replaced at no charge. Damage resulting from negligence or abuse by the resident will be the responsibility of the resident. Stolen carts will be replaced at no charge to the resident.
To report a damaged or stolen cart, please contact Customer Information Services»
Yard waste is picked up once a week for residents in unincorporated Palm Beach County and each week, a maximum of 6 cubic yards of yard waste is collected. See what six cubic yards looks like»
Yard waste refers to debris from routine residential yard maintenance only. Debris from land clearing or tree removal is not eligible to be collected at the curb.
To avoid service interruption:
Piles that exceed 6 cubic yards will not be serviced. They will be tagged and it will be the residents’ responsibility to arrange for removal, either by:
Note: Coconuts are not yard waste and must be placed in your garbage cart.
Yes. Palm Beach County ordinance states that yard waste piles that exceed the maximum 6 cubic yard weekly limit or those that are non-confirming to the regulations above will have no portion of the pile serviced and the property owner will be responsible for its removal. Such piles will be tagged and must be removed within 30 days of original tag to avoid further action or financial penalties.
Read Ordinance 2019-022 (PDF)»
The Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County does not pick up waste or recycling at the curb. We do, however, contract waste hauling services for unincorporated Palm Beach County.
Unincorporated Palm Beach County is divided into 6 service areas (PDF), each of which is awarded to an individual hauler that has the exclusive right to provide service in accordance with the Service Guidelines in their contract.
For questions or concerns about service provided in your area, call the Solid Waste Authority Customer Information Services Department at 561-697-2700, or 866-SWA-INFO toll-free from southern and western Palm Beach County.
If you live in a municipality, please contact your municipality or service provider regarding collection concerns or for general information. Listing of service providers for Palm Beach County municipalities»
In unincorporated Palm Beach County, bulk item pick up is provided once a week and limited to 3 items per collection day.
Place items like appliances, furniture and large household items that do not fit in the cart at the curb, making sure that nothing is stacked on top of water or gas meters, under low branches or utility wires, or within 3 feet of mail boxes or fire hydrants.
For safety reasons, please:
Bulk that does not meet these guidelines will not be collected. If there is more than three bulk items, call the SWA for an estimate to have the items removed. It is the residents’ responsibility to either modify how the waste is set out so that it meets the guidelines, or transport it to the Customer Convenience Drop-Off Center at the SWA landfill or an SWA transfer station, which does incur a disposal fee.
Learn more about bringing waste to an SWA facility»
Customers disposing of material at the landfill or at an SWA transfer station have the option of paying for their tipping fees with cash, a pre-approved business check or Solid Waste Authority charge account.
To apply for a Solid Waste Authority charge account or check cashing ability visit the Rates & Payment Methods page»
There are many ways residents living in unincorporated Palm Beach County can get rid of their unwanted old tires:
(NOTE: There are specific laws that commercial businesses have to follow.)
All fruits (coconuts, mangoes, citrus, etc.) should be placed inside the garbage cart for pick up. Branches with fruit still attached can be placed out with the vegetation.
All other lawn trimmings (pine cones, pine needles, leaves, small hedge clipping, etc.) need to be containerized in paper bags or garbage cans that weigh less than 50 lbs. and placed out with yard waste pick up.
Construction debris (C&D) from minor home repairs is collected once a week and limited to 2 cubic yards weekly. All such material must be containerized in containers weighing less than 50 pounds when filled, with the exception of carpeting. Carpeting must be cut into 4-foot pieces, rolled and secured into bundles weighing less than 50 pounds.
C&D that does not meet these guidelines will not be collected. If there is more than 2 cubic yards of C&D, call the SWA for an estimate to have the items removed. It is the residents’ responsibility to either modify how the waste is set out so that it meets the guidelines, or transport it to the Customer Convenience Drop-Off Center at the SWA landfill or an SWA transfer station, which does incur a disposal fee.
You can do your part to stop illegal dumping by immediately reporting any activity you see. If you live in a municipality, contact your local law enforcement agency. If not, contact the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office at 561-688-3000. Once a report has been filed, contact the SWA at 866-SWA-INFO (866-792-4636) and provide the case number.
Learn more about illegal dumping»
The key to answering this question is to determine which and how much of the wastes you produce are considered hazardous. The federal regulations identifying hazardous wastes and hazardous waste management requirements are found in 40 CFR 261. In general, the more hazardous waste you produce (generate) the more you are regulated. You must first look at all of the waste materials you dispose of and make a determination using the federal criteria as to which are regulated hazardous wastes. Based on that amount, generators will fall into one of three categories - Very Small Quantity, Small Quantity, or Large Quantity. VSQG's have the most flexibility in their waste disposal options, however, anyone handling or supplying chemicals or hazardous substances must comply with other related safety oriented regulations.
A VSQG generates less than 220 lbs. (or approximately 1/2 drum) of hazardous waste, or 2.2 lbs. of acute hazardous waste per calendar month, and never accumulates more than 2,200 lbs. of hazardous waste.
This program is aimed at those companies which produce small or infrequent amounts of hazardous wastes. You must be a Very Small Quantity Generator (VSQG) to utilize this program. This program is available only to Palm Beach County businesses and there are limitations on the types and amounts of waste which can be accepted. Acceptance of hazardous waste, or enrollment in the program is solely at the discretion of the Solid Waste Authority.
Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identification numbers are used to identify and track hazardous waste as it moves its way from generator to transporter to final disposal facility (cradle-to-grave).
All large quantity generators; small quantity generators; hazardous waste transporters; and hazardous waste storage, treatment, or disposal facilities are required to obtain an EPA ID number. Only 1 number is assigned to a generator or facility address.
EPA ID numbers are issued in Florida through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Contact the FDEP district office for more information.
The advantage of this program is that small quantities from different generators can generally be combined for bulk disposal rates. Each business pays for only their share of the combined drum. There are however exceptions for certain types of wastes that cannot be combined and for other wastes, such as photographic and medical wastes, that support specialized full service disposal companies that pick up small quantities.
By using this program, or any disposal service, and keeping your paperwork you can provide proof of proper disposal to a regulatory agency if needed.
Register with the SWA and provide an inventory of the materials you wish to dispose. Learn more on the VSQG Program page.
Recycling is preferred when possible as is the case with some of the latex paints, car batteries, and fluorescent lamps. Most oil and flammable liquids can be blended for commercial fuels, and corrosive liquids are neutralized. Most other materials are incinerated.
Payment must be made at time of delivery. Cash, company check or SWA account only. A receipt is provided itemizing the materials received through this program. Keep the receipt for your records.
There are a number of commercial firms that service the entire state. Some specialize in certain types of waste while others will handle any kind. As with any type of service it is best to shop around and get the best price and service for your needs. View a list of hazardous waste Disposal Contractors. Disposal Contractors