SWA Group TourThe LWV participated in a tour of the Palm Beach County Solid Waste Authority (SWA) on July 9th. The SWA was formed in 1975 by the Florida State Legislature. They provide solid waste disposal and recycling services to the county’s 1.4 million residents. Each person produces approximately 12 pounds of waste daily. That equates to nearly 17 million pounds of waste managed by the SWA each day.


The tour began at the Education Center where recycling skills were tested with an interactive learning tool. We toured Renewable Energy Facility 2, where 93% of our garbage is burned and turned into electricity. A rolling tour took us to Renewable Energy Facility 1, two sanitary landfills, the Home Chemical and Recycle Center and the southern entrance to the Greenway Trail System. The tour ended at the Recovered Materials Processing Facility, which sorts 100,000 tons of recycling each year.


The SWA has an award-winning integrated system of facilities that combines recycling, renewable energy and landfilling to effectively manage the county’s waste.  An important message from the SWA is … Recycle Right!  Many things are recyclable, but not everything. For information on what is recyclable in our county, visit the SWA.ORG website. As a reminder, for the at-home BLUE and YELLOW Bins:


Blue Recycle Bin       

Plastic Bottles and Containers, under 2 gallons in size – lids on

Aluminum Cans (food and beverage)

Glass Bottles and Jars – lids off

Cartons, Milk and Juice, lids on

Drink Boxes – no pouches


Yellow Recycle Bin

Cardboard – Cut and flattened to 36” x 36” or less

Newspapers and inserts – No plastic bags

Office and School Paper

Mail & Magazines

Dry Food Boxes – No food stains

Paper Bags

Cardboard Paper Rolls

Pizza Boxes – No food stains


NOT Recyclable

Plastic Bags (Stop using them or return to your grocer for recycling)

Foam Products (like take-out containers)

Aluminum Foil, trays and pans

Shredded Paper (tiny bits of paper are lost in the recycling process)

Paper Plates, Paper Towels or Napkins

Plastic Eating Utensils, or Straws

Coat Hangers

Light Bulbs


For chemical products, there is a “drive-up” Hazardous Waste Services Center that provides the proper disposal of household hazardous materials for the protection of the environment. The SWA has seven Home Chemical and Recycling Centers (HCRC) throughout Palm Beach County. For complete information regarding the proper disposal of household hazardous waste, call 561-697-2700 or visit SWA.org/HCRC


Hazardous Waste Services Center receives:

Batteries (household and auto) Call 800-8-BATTERY for details.

Used cooking oil

Used oil, filters & antifreeze



Mercury and Fluorescent Lights, Flares

Fuel & Gas, Gas Cylinders



If your recyclable waste does not fit the categories for the Blue Bin, Yellow Bin or Hazardous Waste, then follow the simple principle: “When in Doubt, Throw it Out.”


The SWA has extensive environmental monitoring programs to protect Florida’s valuable resources: air, water, soil and wildlife. The SWA pledges to preserve Florida’s environment and give back to the community. Through their wetland restoration projects, the SWA relocated over 12,000 trees and created lakes to provide habitat for wildlife. The Palm Beach Renewable Energy Park includes the SWA Trailway System, which is open to the public. This 300-acre trailway is home to thousands of native birds, including two endangered species – the Snail Kite and the Wood Stork.


For details on garbage, recycling, chemical disposal, and yard waste, please go to SWA.ORG.


Kathy Panko, Environmental Issues Group

July 15, 2019


Sources:   Tour – July 9, 2019