JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County residents who want to recycle will have to take matters into their own hands starting next week.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry on Monday said staffing shortages are forcing the city to put recycling services on hold temporarily so collectors can focus on the trash that has been piling up in neighborhoods across the city.
“We’re prioritizing garbage and yard waste because they pose a high risk to the sanitation, health and safety of our neighborhoods,” Curry said.
Curbside recycling collections will stop on Oct. 4.
Also starting next Monday, 14 recycling drop-off sites will open throughout the city where residents can bring their items for collection. The sites will be open Monday through Sunday from sunrise to sunset. There is no cost.
Curry said the move comes after his administration has received hundreds of phone calls and emails about delays in waste collection.
“Our citizens are understandably upset. They’re upset because this is a basic service that is paid for by their taxes, and it’s not outrageous to expect a service that you pay for. I understand that frustration,” Curry said. “This is an issue fueled by labor shortages, and it’s something that is happening across the country, not just here in Jacksonville.”
It was not immediately clear when recycling will resume, but Curry said it will be back “as soon as possible.”
Residents on the Westside were not happy with the mayor’s announcement.
“I think it’s a bunch of **** ****,” Jeff Walker said. “I’m not that happy about it because if it was the other way around they would be trying to charge us.”
Walker is not alone. His neighbors Jeanette and Julio Torras said they are fans of recycling and this is a step backward.
But don’t expect any refund on your $152 garbage fee.
The city said it is not making any profit off of recycling. In fact, it is costing the city to do it.
“There will be no refunds of the fees. So, you pay $152 a year, $12.67 a month, divided into four different services. So, if we broke that down it’ll probably be $1, $2. That’s not worth the paper that we’re going to print it on, and that’s probably what is going to be,” said Will Williams, Chief of the Jacksonville Solid Waste Division.
Jacksonville has limits on the amount of trash you can set out. The mayor says you can use the recycling bins to put out on the curb with your regular waste. Staff said there is plenty of room for the additional waste which is now going to be buried and not recycled.
At Tuesday night’s city council meeting, Curry said he will also introduce legislation for the creation of a yard waste transfer station that will assist in reducing runtimes and increase the pace of collection of yard waste in the city.
The legislation will also include a fee reduction for residents that prefer to drop off the yard waste at the Trail Ridge Landfill.
Costs would be $1 total for up to 500 pounds of yard waste and the site would accept yard waste from citizens Monday through Saturday, Curry said.
Recycling drop-off sites include:
Blue Cypress Regional Park, 4112 University Blvd. N. – 32277
William F. Sheffield Regional Park, 3659 New Berlin Rd. – 32226
Girvin Road Landfill, 515 Girvin Rd. – 32225
Southside Estates Elementary Park, 9775 Ivey Rd. – 32246
Earl Johnson Memorial Park, 5308 St. Augustine Rd. – 32207
Palmetto Leaves Regional Park, 5760 Greenland Rd. – 32257
A. Philip Randolph Heritage Park, 1096 A. Philip Randolph Blvd. – 32206
Dinsmore Playground Park, 10632 Old Kings Rd. – 32219
Hammond Park, 2142 Melson Ave. – 32254
Mary Lena Gibbs Community Center, 6974 Wilson Blvd. – 32210
Fort Family Regional Park, 8000 Baymeadows Rd. E. – 32256
Normandy Park, 1728 Lindsey Rd. – 32221
Castaway Island Preserve, 2885 San Pablo Rd. S. – 32225
Riverside Park, 753 Park St. – 32204
For additional information, call (904) 630-2489 (CITY).