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St. Petersburg curbside recycling transitions to new company

ST. PETERSBURG — City leaders expected a seamless switch when a new firm signed on to handle curbside recycling.

The first week of service, however, didn't go off without a hitch. Many customers reported to the Tampa Bay Times that their recyclables weren't picked up or that their new bins hadn't been delivered.

City officials said Friday that they hadn't received any complaints.

Mike Connors, the city's public works administrator, said residents should still use the containers from the old company until Waste Pro can deliver new bins. He blamed the glitch on a manufacturing issue.

That's news to Waste Pro.

"I have all the bins I need," said Andy Toller, the company's district manager. "We don't have a container issue."

Toller said many households are trying to enroll now because they forgot to make the switch before the contract ended with Waste Services of Florida.

Roughly 7,200 homes out of 76,290 used the previous service.

So far, about 5,200 homes have signed up for the new service, which the city advertised in pamphlets sent with water bills.

Last week, 300 customers enrolled and those customers were not picked up last week. They will be picked up this week, Toller said Friday.

As other households make the switch, "it's created an influx of calls," Toller said.

The City Council voted in July to enter into 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.

Mark Puente can be reached at mpuente@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8459. Follow him on Twitter at @markpuente.

. Fast facts

Want curbside recycling?

Residents who had previously contracted with WSI for the voluntary service must call Waste Pro at (727) 873-0800 to continue their recycling service and receive new recycling bins.

The company will collect newspapers, cardboard, metal and aluminum cans, glass and plastic.

The service costs $45 a year, or $3.75 a month, but must be paid in one annual sum.

St. Petersburg curbside recycling transitions to new company 10/06/12 [Last modified: Saturday, October 6, 2012 4:31am]
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