Reduce And Reuse

Reduce and Reuse

The City of Miami Beach is all about waste diversion–preventing materials from going into landfills. Why are landfills bad? They take up valuable space that can be utilized for housing, business, recreation, or wildlife habitat; landfills are often unwelcome in residential neighborhoods, as they can create unpleasant sights, sounds, and smells; they can create hazardous waste issues; and landfills encourage our passive waste-disposal habits.

One way to accomplish waste diversion is recycling, but this answer is far from a complete solution to the ever-growing landfill crisis. Smart consumption–reducing and reusing–is needed to prevent waste from being created in the first place. In addition to diverting waste, waste prevention can help reduce the City’s carbon footprint and reduce pollution.

Check out the following tips to start consuming smartly and conserve our precious resources.


  • Avoid items that are excessively packaged; buy in bulk when possible
  • Avoid bagging items purchased from a store if it’s not necessary
  • Purchase only what you need
  • Landscape with native plants that don’t require constant mowing, trimming, or watering
  • “Grasscycle” your lawn trimmings by leaving them directly on the lawn after mowing
  • Compost your landscape trimmings and kitchen scraps
  • Increase the margins on your word processor to fit more information on a page
  • Copy all documents double sided and try to transfer information electronically when possible
  • Have your name removed from mailing lists to reduce “junk mail”
  • Drink tap water instead of bottled water–install a filter, if you like.
  • Buy concentrates for juice, detergent and other items to reduce packaging waste.


  • Purchase quality items that have a lifetime of use over disposable or second-rate brands
  • Use durable items like ceramic coffee mugs and plates, rechargeable batteries
  • When shopping, use a cloth bag or reuse a brown paper bag for your groceries
  • Use sponges and dish towels instead of paper towels
  • Donate unwanted items to charitable organizations
  • Fix appliances that are worn out instead of throwing them away
  • A piece of paper has two sides – use both sides before recycling
  • Use two-way envelopes to route documents through your office
  • Reuse mailing envelopes and boxes when sending documents and packages
  • Reuse “packing peanuts” or take them to mailing houses that will reuse them
  • Reuse resealable containers, like plastic tubs and glass jars, to store left-overs, lunches, or supplies

Creative Ways to Reuse

  • Make bike/driveway reflectors from old CDs.
  • Use glass jars for extra cups and flower vases
  • Fill old yogurt containers with dirt to use them as seedling starters.
  • Use tissue boxes as trash (or recycling!) containers in cars.
  • Keep cords untangled by passing them through and then storing them in a cardboard toilet-paper tube.
  • Cut the bottom off of an empty toothpaste tube for a reusable cake-decorator.
  • The plastic bags in which newspapers are delivered can be used as umbrella bags.
  • Keep clothes smelling great by placing used dryer sheets with your folded clothes in drawers.

Recycling Toolbox

The City’s Recycling Ordinance mandates that all multi-family residences and all commercial establishments implement a single-stream recycling program. If you have received a letter from the City and wish to verify that your establishment is in compliance.

If you are not sure what single-stream recycling is, download this free Single-stream Recycling Poster!

Finally, if you want to let your residents know where your recycling bins are located or where the recycling area is, download and fill out one of these two helpful signs:

  1. Customizable Trash Chute Sign 1
  2. Customizable Trash Chute Sign 2


Dos & Don’ts


DO wash out jars and containers before recycling. Remember, you do not have to remove the labels.

DO be conscious of what you consume–recycling is just one component of total waste reduction.

DO take plastic bags to your local supermarket to be properly recycled.

DO reduce and reuse whenever possible.


DON’T recycle paper and cardboard products (e.g. pizza boxes) with excess dirt or grease.

DON’T flush any medication down the toilet.

DON’T place plastic bags in your single-stream recycling bin. Plastic bags and other thin plastic materials get caught in the recycling facilities’ sorting machinery, breaking the machines and halting processing for hours.

DON’T pour grease or oil down drains.

Contact Information

City of Miami Beach Sanitation Division:
Phone: 305-673-7616
Fax: 305-673-7028

If you still have questions, check out our FAQs page!


Does your condominium or business need assistance with setting up a successful recycling program?  The City is available to meet with your property and provide guidance and additional information to comply with the City’s recycling ordinance.  The City can also provide support and resources to improve residents and employees usage of your program. Please fill out the form below to request assistance.

NOTICE: Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not want your e-mail address released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to the City of Miami Beach.

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