JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Similar to what Clay County has done, the city of Jacksonville is expected to create drop off sites throughout Duval. This results in the suspension of the recycling program due to excess yard waste not being picked up. The change is expected to happen in mid to late October.
Mayor Lenny Curry first announced on Wednesday that Jacksonville could temporarily suspend the recycling pickups. The goal would be to devote resources, limited by staff shortages, to getting yard waste picked up.
In addition, $4 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding will help with the backlog of trash that’s been piling up.
“If we do that, people will just have to put their recycling stuff in standard garbage pickup for a period of time,” Curry said. “We’ve got to deal with the yard waste and there doesn’t appear to be any daylight in the ability of the haulers to find the drivers and the manpower they need. Again, not a final decision, but we’re leaning heavily in that direction.”
Curry pointed out this problem is not unique to Jacksonville. Surrounding counties, the rest of the state and nation are also dealing with labor shortages in garbage and trash pickup.
“This is a national issue. This is a metropolitan area issue. There are shortages of drivers and we’re all just going to have to work through it,” Curry said.
Homeowners have become increasingly frustrated they are not getting the trash pickup they are paying for, to which Curry replies: “We’re doing everything we can.”
The I-TEAM found the city received more than 9,000 complaints about yard waste pickup delays in August. That’s nearly 700 more than the month before, adding up to more than 35,000 total since April.
There has been a manpower shortage at all three of the companies that the city contracts for garbage, recycling and trash pickup. The city is in the process of replacing one of those contractors. The city didn’t renew its contract with Republic Services and Meridian Waste will take over its routes on Oct. 1.
The city is asking people to report problems they’re having with yard waste pickup. There are three ways to report the problem:
- MyJax app
- Call 904-630-CITY (2489)
The city has asked firefighters and other workers with commercial drivers licenses to work overtime to help fill in the gaps.
It is unknown at this time where exactly these drop off locations would be.