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Karl Nurse proposes recycling compromise



ST. PETERSBURG--City Council member Karl Nurse has come up with a compromise to the city's ongoing dispute with the county over curbside recycling.

Here is the letter Nurse sent to county and city officials today:

The Honorable Robert Stewart
Chair, Pinellas County Commission

Dear Commissioner Stewart,

As a long time advocate of increased recycling in Pinellas County, I have watched with dismay to see poor communication between the County and the City of St. Petersburg on the means to increase countywide recycling. I am in full support of the goals of increased recycling and a sharp reduction in the amount of waste that is buried in the landfill. With this in mind, I would like to propose a series of steps that the City of St. Petersburg could take to achieve these goals. It is important that we focus on the goals of increased recycling and reduction of waste to incinerator and landfill. Let us not get tripped up by the precise method of achieving our common goals.

First, the City can help reduce the peak garbage tonnage by implementing a curbside yard waste pickup program. Yard waste often is the largest portion of homeowners waste and is the major cause of the peak garbage tonnage. This program could be timed so as to have increased frequencies during the spring surge of garbage generation. It would logically be less often in the fall and winter when
much less yard waste is generated.

Second, the City can lower the fees and increase its marketing of mulch delivery to homeowners so as to have more of the mulch used on our soils and lower the trucking costs for disposal. The County recycling funds should help subsidize this expansion. This will help divert some of the waste that otherwise would end up in the incinerator or the landfill. 

Third, the City can implement a monthly curbside recycling program to pick up the newspapers, glass, plastic and aluminum that would be part of the county program. Chattanooga, Tenn., has used a monthly system with good results. Since the paper, glass, etc., do not go bad with time, this has proven to be a way to pick up a good amount of recyclable materials while minimizing the carbon footprint of the garbage trucks. 

Fourth, the City can open up the criteria to allow more customers to choose once-a-week pickup. This would be during the second pickup of the week, which is the pickup that has only about 40% of the volume. By eliminating some Monday or Tuesday pickups, it will allow the city to balance its workload more, thus allowing customers a choice to save money if they divert sufficient waste to curbside yard pickup or curbside recyclables pickup. 

Collectively, these actions can reduce the household waste to the incinerator by as much as 60%, convert a considerable amount of material to be recycled, minimize the increase in the pollution caused by additional garbage, allow citizens to save money and meet the county’s goal of extending the life of the county landfill. I believe this meets the county goal for recycling and should qualify for the county funds.


Karl Nurse
City Council, Dist. # 6


[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:35am]


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