TAMPA — Goodbye, blue bins. Hello, blue bags.
Starting July 1, the city and Tampa Downtown Partnership will discontinue using 95-gallon carts for trash pickup at 53 businesses in downtown Tampa.
In their place, local officials will pick up 30-gallon blue bags on a more frequent schedule.
The goal: less-cluttered sidewalks.
"Frankly, the blue bins are big and clunky, and on trash days, they are everywhere," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said in a statement announcing the change.
The hope is that merchants will put out the bags on a set schedule a few minutes before they're picked up. In addition to getting in the way on the sidewalk, the bins are smelly.
"We're going to see a more aesthetically pleasing pedestrian experience," said Donna Chen, the partnership's director of marketing and communications.
The change will affect businesses in an area bordered by Royal Street on the north, Whiting Street on the south, Tampa Street on the west and Franklin Street on the east.
There, businesses will buy the blue bags from the city, and the city will pick up the bags up to three times per day Monday through Saturday. By comparison, the city provides pickup of the bins twice daily on those days.
The change will not affect any residential buildings or customers.
The city has already done a dry run of sorts on this change.
During last year's Republican National Convention, the city temporarily removed all the 95-gallon carts from the downtown core so they couldn't be used to hide a bomb.
Instead, merchants were asked to use heavy-duty garbage bags, and the partnership's Clean Team provided regularly scheduled pickups. Merchant participation during the convention was good, Chen said, so "we think that all parties have an interest in doing this."