Cardboard Recycling $500 Fine Goes Into Effect March 1st

After 12 months of the City’s public information campaign, on March 1st, the City’s cardboard recycling fine ordinance will go into effect.

The City Commission unanimously passed the ordinance requiring residents flatten all cardboard boxes and place them in or next to their recycling bins on February 26, 2019.

In August, City staff began notifying residents who were placing cardboard boxes in their trash pits of the upcoming change in policy.

The ordinance will now take full effect on Sunday of next week and staff can place up to a $500 fine on residents who discard of cardboard boxes in trash pits.

The City placed the following alert on its website, “Beginning March 1 fines will be imposed to anyone tossing any cardboard boxes on the swales. A year-long public education campaign was conducted to inform the public that a new city code requires that all cardboard boxes need to be recycled.”


22 thoughts on “Cardboard Recycling $500 Fine Goes Into Effect March 1st

  1. I have a record of helping to initiate and continuing to support the City’s recycling programs. I applaud the citizens of Coral Gables for their dedication to doing what is possible to improving our environment and insuring a brighter future for future generations. But, $500? Whoever came up with that amount needs to rethink it and apply the proposition that the “penalty needs to fit the ‘crime’! Fines for reckless driving and causing an accident are less. Additionally, as others have noted, we need to institute ways and means, if possible, for Code Enforcement Officers to be able to determine who placed the cardboard on the trash pile (there is much sharing of piles, sometimes with the consent of the homeowners and sometimes not, in the North Gables neighborhoods where swale space is limited).

  2. What the city needs is a place that residents can take recyclables if it’s to much for the bins. We also need a place to dump household items that are bulky and hazardous paints and materials that is not in Doral or Homestead. Gables should have several locations for residents. And while we are on the topic of waste, when is Coral Gables going to have adequate sewers, I still have a septic tank.

  3. I always recycle everything, so I do not have a problem flattening cardboard boxes and placing them in or next to the recycle bin. However, I want to know how the City of Coral Gables is going to be absolutely sure that the homeowner was the one who threw the cardboard box in the swale pit. ANYONE can throw a cardboard box in any swale pit just prior to pick up. In the swale pit that I share with my neighbor there have been many things that neither my neighbor nor I have thrown there, including doggie bags, which is very annoying. Why don’t they throw it in their own swale pit?

  4. Yet another unfunded mandate/hidden tax from the City Beautiful!
    If you want to “save the world” , start with China, India and Africa, the world’s biggest polluters.
    Just don’t impose your will on me! It just makes a minority feel good for foisting their tree hugging views on me, at my expense/travail.

  5. same issues as already listed above: boxes in recycling do not get picked up, bins too small, items in our swale pit is not ours. better planning and bins are needed from the city before threatening with such hefty fines. this sounds like another revenue source for city government vs. genuinely trying to do the right thing for our environment.

  6. I’m glad that the city is implementing a large fine for those refusing to recycle cardboard boxes properly. Unfortunately, that’s the only way to get people to cooperate. This has been the policy for a long time yet I see boxes on swales all the time. After the holiday season it was shameful to see all the lazy people who didn’t care enough to take a few minutes to break down their boxes and place them in or beside their recycle bins. And crying “I didn’t know” is ridiculous. Unless you live under a rock you know cardboard is recylable and therefore should have been in your bin for YEARS! I do a lot of online shopping and I have received many large boxes. Are they a pain to flatten? Yes. Is it a responsibility that, like a lot of things in life, is a bit of a pain but we do anyway? Yes. People complaining about the lack of room in the recycling bins didn’t read the part about how they are supposed to be placed NEXT to the bin. No one had to tell us to do that, by the way. It is common sense. While I agree with the point about newspapers and cardboard boxes, etc. not being able to be recycled when wet and this is a problem with Coral Gables choice of open bins, those complaining about the small size of the bins really don’t have a valid point. All it takes is a phone call to request a second bin! Really, people, you need to be a bit more proactive. Those people who live in Miami Dade with the large blue trash cans also have to flatten large boxes, they don’t fit in those either. Those complaining about missed pick ups also need to call. This has happened to me, too, though not on recycling but on regular trash pick up. I’ve had to call and complain. When it happened a few times, I then had to request to speak with a supervisor and tell them if it kept happening I’d write an email to the commissioners. This seemed to finally remedy the problem. But folks, you need to pick up the phone and learn to speak up for yourselves. The only valid complain I see here is the one about the shared swale pits. How is the Gables going to know who the boxes belong to? Yes, there are often address labels they can look at but about the times when there aren’t? My neighbor puts boxes in the swale all the time and I will raise heck if I get a fine for someone else’s actions when I have been faithfully recycling my cardboard boxes properly for years.

  7. When is the City going to begin fining people who let their dogs leave a pile of poop on someone else’s lawn or those who do use “doggie bags” then sling them on the nearest yard trash pile???

  8. In many occasions I have woken up to find boxes, lumber, debris etc… that was not left there by neither myself or neighbor.
    We should not be held accountable for trash left behind from drive by looters.
    That should be addressed by the city, before fining residents that already pay high taxes.

  9. This is no big deal. Get box cutters and break down the big boxes. No excuses. I do it every week, and I dare say I do all my shopping online. The whining is ridiculous. The fine is excessive, agreed. Also, many times we have had random trucks dump personal trash in the shared pits. Not sure how this is going to be implemented, but I understand the rationale. #saveourplanet #recycle #stopusingplastic

  10. I have started recycling 3 times, since I moved to this area, 26 years ago. I don’t understand wHy but my bins do not get picked up and all the recycling stays outside and soaked, due to sprinklers and/or rain. Then I’m stuck with getting everything that took so look to flatten and wash, soaked, into trash bags. It is extremely frustrating. I need to speak to someone who will guarantee that my recyclables will, in fact, be picked up. And not only that one time that I contact the city of Coral Gables, but every week after. I am saying this because the last time that I intended to recycle the same thing happened, I called and complained and that week they did come to pick up but the following week, the same thing was done, we left the bins without being picked up and again, I was stuck with the task of moving everything from the bins, that was soaked and gross, into garbage bags. Also, I receive many deliveries, they don’t all fit in those bins, they are too small. Can I have more than 2 bins? Another thing is that there are some very large boxes, will there be an exception for those?

  11. The first step the City should do is to properly equip residents with recycling bins that handle large crushed boxes before implementing such draconian fines on its residents. Why are Miami-Dade resident’s given large blue garbage can size bins for re-cycling and we get small orange baskets ? I believe it is only fair that the City take responsibility for not properly equipping its residents before threating us with fines.

  12. We receive many boxes and we recycle most of them, but Some large boxes are extremely difficult flatten. I think there should be an allowance for larger sized boxes.

  13. In the Riviera Section, near UM, there are many renters. I’ve noticed that a lot of the renters don’t use recycling bins, and they are constantly leaving boxes in trash pits. Will the renter or the owner be subject to the fines?

  14. I was never notified, nor have any recycling bins. Also, recycling bins that I have seen from my neighbors are only big enough for small boxes. What’s next?

  15. I have always broken down my boxes and put into my recycle bins. I keep in my garage and put out on the
    morning of the pickup so they stay dry. It does not take long to break them down into smaller pieces.
    My shared trash pile usually has boxes on it and I’m not sure where they come from, how will the city?

  16. Good Morning. I ask how you will determine which homeowner placed the boxes in the trash pits? Most trash pits are located between properties or on property lines. Also, someone may toss a box on a shared pit but none of the neighbors / homeowners associated with the pit actually placed the box. This appears to be a significant issue.

  17. Soaking wet cardboard cannot be recycled. Due to rain that we can’t plan for, we should look at getting the small covered recycling cans like Weston provides their residents. This will keep the cardboard dry (as well as keeping things cleaner than our bins) so that efforts to recycle aren’t in vain.

  18. The city does not take all my recycling every times so the boxes are being broken down by the rain and I have to go out and take and pick up box pieces all the time. What is you solution to fixing this problem of trash flying around the neighborhoods?

  19. $500.00, a bit excessive ? Maybe it will go towards funding sewer lines for those homes still on septic tanks. After all it is the 21st century and we are “ the city beautiful “

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