BROOKSVILLE — For Brooksville residents, the city's foray into the green practice of curbside recycling is about to get much less cumbersome.
Starting Wednesday, residents will have a single-stream collection method that no longer will require the separation of items such as cardboard, tin and aluminum cans, plastic bottles and newspapers.
Brooksville sanitation director Mike McQuown said he hopes the simpler collection method will encourage more of the city's 4,100 utility customers to take part in the voluntary program.
"We're eliminating some of the inconvenience that made a lot of people not want to participate in recycling," McQuown said.
Although the city has had curbside recycling since 2009, the current participation rate has pretty much remained between 25 percent and 30 percent since its inception. Because only certain items were picked up on the first three Wednesdays of the month, it often meant residents had to hold on to recyclables for long periods of time.
With the single-stream method, the city will pick up recyclables on the first and third Wednesday of each month.
A few months ago, the City Council approved the $157,000 purchase of a specially modified disposal truck that includes a compactor for plastic items. Recyclables will be hauled to a processing facility in Land O'Lakes.
Public works director Richard Radacky said that while the city is paid a modest sum for recyclables, it's not enough to fund curbside collection. Rather, he believes the program's real value comes in the savings the city receives by hauling less garbage to the county's landfill.
"It makes sense," Radacky said. "The lighter the load you have, the cheaper the cost of getting rid of it."
Rules for the new single-stream program remain pretty much the same as before.
Residents are asked to put plastic, aluminum and tin, plus newspapers, magazines, junk mail and cardboard in transparent blue plastic bags that have been donated by Walmart. No glass will be accepted.
Residents wanting to participate in the recycling program may contact the city Utilities Department at (352) 540-3810 or visit the city's website: ci.brooksville.fl.us.
Logan Neill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1435.