What a difference a few months can make. St. Petersburg city officials are expected to tell the City Council today that they now recommend studying how to provide universal curbside recycling to residents, finally acknowledging grass roots sentiment. It's a welcome change in City Hall and one the council should embrace. It's time for St. Petersburg to join every other major Florida city in doing its part toward reducing waste.
For years, City Hall has been resistant to incorporating convenient, curbside recycling into its waste management services. Former Mayor Rick Baker was dubious of the environmental impact. Mayor Bill Foster has been more receptive, implementing the city's first, voluntary, for-fee curbside recycling services. A campaign led by the St. Petersburg chapter of the League of Women Voters and other community groups has put the issue on the front burner in the current election cycle.
Mike Connors, the city's public works director, is expected to warn council members that he anticipates the service will increase costs. But that should not be a deal killer. And as the recycling industry evolves, even that dynamic could shift. The council should urge Connors to fully examine all options so that in the near future, St. Petersburg residents can join other urban Floridians in seamlessly recycling waste right outside their door.