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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Busy signals block many St. Petersburg residents from enrolling in new recycling program



A busy signal won’t let many residents “Go Green” in the Sunshine City.

As St. Petersburg switches recycling firms, phone lines at Waste Pro of Florida rang busy most of Friday as many residents tried enrolling in the service. Even a city official had a hard time

The firm sent 8,000 pamphlets to homes, urging residnets to "Go Green."

“They were a little unprepared for the volume of calls,” said Mike Connors, the city’s public works administrator.

The problem won’t happen Monday.

Waste Pro has contracted with a call center for 15 operators to handle the calls for about three weeks, Connors said.

Waste Pro will also add a message to the phone line asking residents to call back Monday. Operators will also call residents next week to pitch the service.

The busy phones wasn’t the best way to start a new service, Connors acknowledged. He learned of the busy signals from the Tampa Bay Times.

The City Council voted last month on a three-year contract with Waste Pro, which would keep a voluntary curbside program in the city through 2015.

The contract with the former company, Waste Services of Florida Inc., lagged far below expectations despite the initial public clamor when the service started in 2010. Only 7,249 out of 76,290 homes use the service, which will end this fall.

[Last modified: Friday, August 24, 2012 5:20pm]


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