Dear Neighbors,
"We are living on this planet as if we had another one to go to .”

– Terry Swearingen, Winner of Goldman Environmental Prize in 1997

Last week, County Commissioner Eileen Higgins and I took a tour of the Waste Management facility used by Miami Beach for our recycling. What we learned was very surprising and I have immediately changed my recycling habits!

Many of us "wish-cycle" in our effort to reduce our footprint on the environment. However, by putting into our bins everything we wish we could recycle or everything that has the triangular recycling symbol, we reduce actually recycling due to contamination. 30% of what is sent to the recycling center ends up in the dumpster , and t he video below shows you just how difficult bad recycling can make the process.

Here are our key take-aways:
  • Small-neck openings only! How do you know? If the opening of a plastic container (the neck) is the same size or larger than its body, it is NOT recyclable
  • Never plastic bags – for any reason. Not even to neatly hold the other items together! The machines must be cleaned out 6 times per day simply to untangle all of the plastic bags stuck in its system.
  • The green recycling triangle only refers to the type of plastic, not to the item actually being recyclable. Only 1 & 2 are recyclable in Miami-Dade County.

  • Cardboard is highly recyclable!
  • Everything must be dry
  • Everything must be clean

  • All white, matte and even glossy paper and milk/juice type cartons are OK

  • The only metal to recycle are beverage and food cans
  • NO wire hangers! (Return these to your dry cleaners)

  • Glass is not recycled locally, as the closest facility is located in Sarasota, Florida. I question whether we are net negative on our carbon footprint for glass. More to come on this as I've asked the City to follow up!

  • NO textile. Textile recycling can be done at the white  Charity Recycling bins that not only help divert waste from landfills, but provide the opportunity to fund sustainability initiatives in the city. For every pound of textiles collected, the city receives funding for programs to build a more sustainable community. The items are then either donated, resold, or re-purposed to make other materials! Residents can drop off unwanted shoes, clothes, and other household textiles at the locations below:

All Miami-Dade County Public School Facilities

Green Waste Facility
2800 Meridian Avenue
Miami Beach FL, 33139
Monday – Saturday
7:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Bin 1 – City Hall
1700 Convention Center Dr. – 1st floor
Miami Beach, FL 33139
Available 24 Hours

Bin 2 – Fire station 3
5303 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33140
Available 24 Hours

Bin 3 -Fire station 4
6860 Indian Creek Drive
Miami Beach, FL 33141
Available 24 Hours

  • NO electronics. Learn how to dispose of these at our Green Waste Facility here.

  • NO chemicals. Learn how to dispose of these here.
  • A City free household hazardous waste event is scheduled for Nov. 3. More information below.


As difficult it may be to accept, please remember: #WhenInDoubtThrowItOut !!!

Thank you to Commissioner Higgins for the opportunity to visit the facility with her and attempt to implement some changes in our community.

Let's increase the percentage of items that are recycled together!



Commissioner John Elizabeth Alemán
Textile recycling bin at City Hall
Electronics recycling at the Green Waste Facility
The Waste Management Facility
What to Recycle
Thank you for Recycling!
Moving Miami Beach Forward Together!
Whether you are a Miami Beach resident or a business owner in our community, my office is here to help! Our door is always open, so feel free to stop by or e-mail me at

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John E. Alemán | City of Miami Beach Commissioner | 786-459-7111 |