County agrees to suspend curbside recycling to allow Waste Management to catch up on backlog

By Wesley LeBlanc wesley@opcfla.com
Posted 7/28/21

CLAY COUNTY – As trash bags and yard waste continues to pile up on curbs across the county, Waste Management is finally taking a definitive action to solve the problem: temporarily suspending …

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County agrees to suspend curbside recycling to allow Waste Management to catch up on backlog

Posted

CLAY COUNTY – As trash bags and yard waste continues to pile up on curbs across the county, Waste Management is finally taking a definitive action to solve the problem: temporarily suspending curbside recycling.

The Board of County Commissioners agreed during its Tuesday, July 27, meeting, creating a plan in real-time with Waste Management to finally get on top of the months-long trash dilemma in Clay County. It chose the first of three options presented during the meeting.

“We’ve made some offers to individuals,” a Clay County Waste Management representative said during the meeting. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen an increase of COVID-19 in our workforce. As an employer of over 550-plus employees, we have over 20 with COVID-19 plus many more with [family members] with COVID-19 in the same household.”

Waste Management presented three options as well as the pros and cons of each. The first option was to temporarily suspend curbside recycling. The company said this would be the most effective option overall as it would allow it to utilize existing recycling crews to collect the yard waste.

It said the option would allow them to get back on trash pick-up schedule within 10 days and that free recycling drop-off locations would be set up to ensure residents can still recycle. Waste Management also said it would suspend the $1.85 a month recycling services cost to residents, collectively saving county residents about $128,000.

The second option includes moving trash pickup to every other week, and it would shift yard waste to an every-other-week schedule. However, Waste Management said that likely would be confusing for residents, and the company doesn’t believe this would result in a reduction of enough labor to allow the company to get back on schedule. Other cons include concerns with loose debris sitting on yards, the weight of yard waste and how it would affect costs and the company’s own reluctance to reduce trash cost rates due to its need for third-party contractors to make this option work.

The third option would allow Waste Management to continue working to hire enough people to remedy the problem – which the company said it’s already doing.

The BCC approved the first option, and will send out more information about this option on social media, on Waste Management’s website, in official communication channels, in newspaper ads and more. The BCC was adamant that Waste Management must send out formal letters to each resident in Clay County notifying them of this option and what it means for their trash.

The BCC said Waste Management must send out those letters by Aug. 2, giving residents 14 days to prepare for how a temporary suspension of recycling pick up will affect their trash. Waste Management will suspend its recycling program and pick up on Aug. 16. 

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