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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Pinellas County recycling debate continues



ST. PETERSBURG-- City Council member Karl Nurse's compromise on recycling was enough to get Mayor Rick Baker to finally embrace some form of curbside collection.

But, a month later, it's unclear that the county is willing to water down its proposal to bring weekly curbside collection to every household in the county.

County Commission Chairman Bob Stewart sure doesn't seem ready to change his plans. Continue reading to check out Stewart's response to Nurse.

Dear Councilman Nurse:

Thank you for your September 19, 2008 correspondence related to the County’s proposed Curbside Recycling Program. As you know, I am a strong advocate of increased recycling in Pinellas County.  Regarding the four points addressed in your correspondence related to the City of St. Petersburg:

1. The City could implement a curbside yard waste pickup program.
2. The City could lower fees and increase marketing of mulch delivery to homeowners.
3. The City could implement a monthly curbside recycling program to pick up newspapers, glass, plastic and aluminum.
4. The City could allow more customers to choose once a week pickup during the second pickup of the week.

On March 22, 2007 the Board of County Commissioners supported the concepts presented by staff for Beach Recycling, Litter Control, and County-wide Curbside Recycling. At our August 28, 2008 Work Session staff presented the County-wide Curbside Recycling element of their plan.

Items one and two above are distinct and separate from traditional curbside recycling programs. Staff’s presentation and subsequent Board approval on August 28, 2008 related specifically to recycling items that can be placed in a container. All of the statistical data related to pounds per household for the typical curbside recycling items, such as newspapers, glass, plastic and aluminum.

With regard to item three, I have forwarded your suggestion to the Director of Utilities for his consideration. Weekly pickups are an industry standard for several reasons. Residents generally do not desire to stockpile their recyclables for an entire month waiting for pickup and as a result, participation and recovery rates tend to be significantly lower. 

Item four above is a procedural decision that the County does not influence.

Thanks for thinking out-of-the box!


Robert B. Stewart
Pinellas County Commission


[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:36am]


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