Recycling in Pinellas Park today must go beyond the items we throw into our blue recycling containers. Another extension of the recycling process can be found right in our own yards.
Yard waste produced from grass clippings, raked leaves and hedge branches stuffed into plastic trash bags accounts for up to 20% by weight of the total municipal waste produced year-round. These bagged organic materials, left on the curb for garbage pick-up, compound our disposal problem. To save disposal space for non-recyclable items, all residents should make a conscious effort to recycle yard waste.
Relearning Nature’s Way
In our old throw-away society, the benefits of recycling all yard wastes were lost. Today, we much never think of lawn and brush clippings as waste. These materials are organic, and in nature nothing organic is wasted. The forest, for example, receives its nutrients from all the leaves and branches that have fallen to the forest floor. Our yards and gardens can benefit from a similar continuation of this life cycle, while we do our part to save landfill space and protect our environment.
Nearly every homeowner in Pinellas Park wants a lush, green lawn and beautiful landscaping. Every year hundreds of dollars are spent on the purchase of chemical fertilizers and the over consumption of precious water to achieve this goal. In the process, our surface and ground water supplies are being polluted by the leaching of chemical fertilizers into the earth.
What is left of our precious drinking water is being needlessly wasted on our lawns. An alternative and cheaper way to achieve lush, green lawns is to let your grass clippings fall on the lawn as you mow.
Contrary to popular belief, grass clippings do not contribute to thatch. Instead, grass clippings return valuable nutrients to the soil, eliminating the need for expensive chemical fertilizers.
Each bag of clipped grass contains one-fourth pound of organic nitrogen, a necessary element for a healthy green lawn. The grass clippings also act as mulch; protecting the roots of the grass plants from temperature extremes and helping the soil retain moisture. And leaving your grass clippings on the lawn means leaving them out of the landfill.
Some Do’s and Don’ts
Lawns should be mowed when they reach a height of 3.5 to 4 inches maximum. Following this rule will eliminate the need for raking. Allow fallen leaves from trees and shrubs to remain on the lawn when you mow. They, too, contain necessary nutrients.
Try not to mow your lawn when the grass is wet with dew or rain. This will cause the grass clippings to clump on the lawn. Should mowing at this time be necessary, do either of the following: rake the clippings to even them out or use them as a compost additive.
Keep your lawn mower blade sharp. A dull blade will tear and shred the grass, making it look unattractive and leaving it a ready host for lawn diseases.
Mulch & Compost
If you prefer to use the catcher bag while you mow, save your grass clippings for use as a compost additive. Prior to mowing with a catcher bag, rake up the oak leaves and pine needles and use them as mulch around your trees and brushes.
Some benefits of mulching are plant protection during heavy rains, retention of soil moisture, promotion of seed germination, and reduction in week growth and soil temperature extremes. Large materials such as tree and hedge branches can be used in the mulch and must be chopped or shredded before use.
You may want to compost your yard materials. Composting increases the nitrogen content of your yard waste and is a practical and convenient way to recycle. Using the composted yard materials in your garden bed returns organic nutrients to the soil. It also improves the texture of the soil, increases biological activity of soil organisms and helps our sandy soil hold precious moisture. A side benefit: your shrubs and bushes will look great!
Compost containers can be fashioned out of a number of materials including rubber trash cans, wire fencing and concrete blocks. Proper circulation and drainage are a must for good composting. Only one composting container per household is allowed.
All temporary structures must conform to building and city ordinance code.
City Brush Site
If you truly lack the time to adopt any of these at-home recycling suggestions, then bag and transport your yard waste to the Waste Management / City Brush Site where it will be recycled into mulch. The site located at and is available for use with proof of residency:
It is closed on the following holidays: Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. In addition to disposing of your yard waste, you may obtain free clean mulch.
Remember, we recycle in Pinellas Park to help protect our environment, preserve natural resources and improve the quality of life for present and future generations.
If you have any questions on yard waste recycling, contact the City of Pinellas Park at 727-369-0690. Information on Pinellas County’s yard waste sites is available at 727-464-7500. The Pinellas County Parks and Conservation Resources Department can answer your additional questions on backyard composting. Call 727-582-2100 or write them:
12520 Ulmerton Road Largo, Florida 33774-3695
Reminder: All Temporary Structures Must Conform to Building and City Ordinance Code
When planning removal of a tree from your property, you must first obtain a Tree Removal Permit from the City at the Technical Services Building, 6051 78th Avenue North, or call 727-369-5647.
This booklet was written and published by the City of Pinellas Park, with the guidance of the Pinellas County RecyclaMat Partnership and the Pinellas County Cooperative Extension Service.