JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – This week, the News4JAX I-TEAM received complaints about the city’s recycling program after a number of drop-off bins were overflowing with waste.
The city suspended curbside recycling pickup in October, saying there were staffing issues with the contracted waste haulers due to the pandemic.
From Mandarin to the Southside, Arlington to San Pablo, residents have made complaints about the drop-offs following Christmas weekend.
Now, Jacksonville City Councilman Matt Carlucci is calling for accountability and transparency (letter at end of article), and he’s planning a meeting at City Hall in mid-January to get answers from the contractors and city administrators. He told the I-TEAM, “Our city deserves better.”
It appears the city and the contractors have caught up for the most part. On Wednesday, the I-TEAM went by several parks and did not see the issues that were photographed following Christmas.
The I-TEAM learned the city has fined the private haulers over the past year for being behind on pickups, withholding more than a $1 million from payouts to Advanced Disposal. Republic Services had $536,000 in fines, and Waste Pro had $725,000.
Meridian Waste, which won the contract from Republic Services and took over in September, has not been fined.
The I-TEAM has requested documents on how much each of their city-funded contracts are worth.
Steve Johnson, a Jacksonville resident, says everyone needs to do a better job – the contractors, the city and people who are recycling. Many residents are putting things that aren’t recyclable in the bins or they’re putting recycling in plastic bags, which are not accepted.
“This looks a lot better than it did,” he told us Wednesday.
City leaders have not said when curbside recycling will return.
As far as the most recent complaints, the I-TEAM has requested comment from Mayor Lenny Curry’s office. A statement has not yet been provided.
The I-TEAM also reached out to the contractors hired to haul the recycling. As of publication, only Republic Services responded, saying it no longer has a contract with the city.
Here’s the letter from Carlucci: