The way the City of Safety Harbor’s Public Works Department handles the recyclables that it collects from Safety Harbor residents will change temporarily. Services and collection days will not be affected and residents are encouraged to continue recycling efforts. Safety Harbor partners with the City of Clearwater and utilizes Clearwater’s transfer station for disposal of recyclable materials. There was a fire at the Tampa Bay facility that the City of Clearwater sends its collected recyclables to for processing. Damages at the facility were extensive, and it cannot receive recycled materials for four to six weeks.
As alternative recovery facilities are sought to process recyclables, it is possible that Public Works may have to send city recyclables to the Pinellas Waste-to-Energy Plant. While recycling is always the city’s preferred method of waste processing, sending waste to be used in the county’s Waste-to-Energy Plant is another beneficial option—as the plant burns 90 percent of its waste received in order to provide power to 40,000 local homes each day. The plant also recovers all aluminum and metal from burned waste, sending these materials to be recycled. Recyclables will be sent back to the Tampa Bay processing facility as soon as it resumes normal operations.
While the official cause of the fire is still under investigation, some suspect it may have originated from lithium ion batteries. Items that contain lithium ion batteries include cell phones, laptops and cameras. These items are not accepted in the city’s single-stream recycling program because these specific batteries burn so hot that they can spontaneously combust. Improper recycling of these items can cause fires that result in processing delays, facility damages and hazardous working conditions for employees. Please dispose of hazardous waste properly. If you have a cell phone, laptop, camera, or any other item with a lithium ion battery that you wish to dispose of, do not place it in a recycling bin. Instead, residents may dispose of these items at the Pinellas County Solid Waste Facility Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. or during the HEC3 mobile collection events.
Residents with questions should call City of Safety Harbor Public Works Department, (727) 724-1550.