St. Pete City Council hears curbside recycling proposal

10/30/08 Mitch E. Perry
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Of the 10 most densely populated counties in Florida, only Pinellas lacks curbside recycling. Inside the county however, only three municipalities, including St. Petersburg, lack the service..

But that may finally be changing. Today an official with the county spoke in front of the St. Pete City Council about the city participating in the program the county is setting up.

Bob Houser is with the Pinellas County Solid Waste Department. He said that if everything works out, the program would be up and running by January 2010.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker has steadfastly expressed reservations about curbside recycling over his two terms in office, saying he has had financial and environmental concerns. Recently however, he has said he could support a compromise measure proposed by Councilman Karl Nurse. That proposal would call for curbside recycling for newspapers, glass, plastic and aluminum just once a month.

Nurse said in St. Petersburg, the county only does three collections of hazardous waste annually.

Councilman Jeff Danner said the most environmentally conscious countries don’t do any curbside recycling. And Danner said that with only 10 curbside drop off sites in the county, more should be made available for convenience sake.

The county says it is looking for a 5- to 7-year contract with the vendor ultimately chosen for the program. The program would cost roughly $7 million plus.

Council Chair Jamie Bennett acknowledged that the lack of curbside recycling has been a contentious issue in the city for years, but said there might finally be some light at the end of the tunnel.

Also under the county’s proposal, St. Petersburg, could use the new county service or receive funding to create its own programs.

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