Dunedin to roll out mandatory curbside recycling program by October
DUNEDIN -- Commissioners last week gave city staff the green light to push forward with plans to transition to once-weekly trash pickup by 2014.
To get things moving, the city in October will roll out a free recycling program to allow residents to see for themselves how a recycling bin reduces their trash can volume.
The goal of a weekly trash pickup is to reduce costs for things like fuel, worker's compensation and truck maintenance, as well as to help Pinellas County preserve its landfill, which is anticipated to reach capacity in approximately 2080.
Citywide curbside recycling is "something our residents have been asking for for many years," said Dunedin sustainability coordinator Valerie Brown. "We're finally able to give it to them."
For the last seven years, recycling in Dunedin has been voluntary. Residents pay $2.79 a month plus a $5 one-time fee for an 18-gallon recycling bin, deterring many residents who feel the fees 'punish them for doing the right thing,' Brown said. The 2,000 participating households are responsible for separating items themselves.
Under the new program, each of the city's 13,000 residential trash customers will receive a 65-gallon recycling bin with wheels to accompany their 90-gallon trash barrel. The cost will be rolled into the $17.10 flat fee residents pay each month for trash and bulk pickup.
An expanded list of accepted recyclables includes all colors of glass, cardboard, milk and juice cartons, and almost all types of plastic containers. All recyclable items can be dropped into one bin and don't have to be sorted by the resident.
The city will spend the first year developing a residential pickup schedule and evaluating whether the cost savings are enough to keep the recycling free. Read more details here.
The news came days before Waste Services of Florida Inc. told St. Petersburg officials that it won't renew its voluntary curbside recycling contract when it expires in October because of slow sales. St. Petersburg approved the contract in 2010, and WSI had signed up only a third of the 24,000 customers it had hoped to attract.
Once Dunedin starts its program, St. Petersburg will be the only of Pinellas County's 24 municipalities not yet offering a mandatory citywide curbside recycling program.
--Keyonna Summers, Times Staff Writer