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Questions about Jacksonville recycling remain ahead of Monday pause

Jacksonville Beach will not be suspending services

There are still questions about how recycling will work in Jacksonville now that the city is suspending household pick-up starting Monday.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There are still questions about how recycling will work in Jacksonville now that the city is suspending household pick-up starting Monday.

As the News4Jax I-TEAM has been reporting for months, the Jacksonville garbage problem continues to pile up.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry is hoping by suspending home recycling indefinitely the city can get caught up on other trash problems like the mounds of yard waste that have been seen in many neighborhoods across Duval County.

Earl Johnson Park on St. Augustine Road is one of the 14 sites where residents can bring recycling starting Monday. As of Wednesday, there was nothing set up.

Michael Gullion was at the park on Wednesday and had his recycling container in the back of his truck. He said he thought he could drop it off at the park.

Gullion said he will continue to recycle when the sites are operational.

News4Jax has heard from others who say they do plan to try and continue to recycle the best they can.

News4Jax went to other areas that will become drop-off sites, like Riverside Park, and one person who didn’t want to be identified said they are worried about what will happen to the park.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea. The city needs more funding to actually clean up the parks more. Maybe if they promise to actually clean the parks up after they leave, that would be something,” the man said.

Curry said the change is due to a labor shortage. Trash collectors can’t hire drivers.

Ronnie Burris the business manager of a local union that represents many of the city’s garbage truck drivers said drivers can find better pay at other companies even though the city did increase pay for solid waste employees.

“So they are making about $40,000 a year to drive the garbage truck,” Burris said. “And they’ve got some very long days. 12, 13, 14-hour days, some of them seven days a week,” he said.

At Tuesday night’s city council meeting, members approved using $4 million of federal COVID-19 relief money to help with the garbage situation. How all of that will be spent is still unknown.

The mayor’s office said part of the funding will go towards opening a transfer site on Philips Highway where trucks can haul yard waste to the Southside instead of going to the landfill on the far west side of the city. Some of the money will also be used to open up the drop-off recycling sites at the 14 locations around the city.

Since recycling will be put on hold, News4Jax has been reaching out to Republic Services which will still operate a recycling center in Jacksonville. We asked about what it will mean for its employees at the plant.

Republic did have a contract for residential trash pickup as well but that was not renewed and a new company is set to take that over in October.

For additional information, check out some FAQs or call (904) 630-2489 (CITY).

The City of Jacksonville Beach on Wednesday announced that the recycling pause will not affect Jacksonville Beach.

“While we are aware of continued issues with waste pickup from Waste Management, we are working with them to get your service back to normal in the coming weeks,” the city said. “City Staff continues to work diligently to ensure our residents are receiving the service they are guaranteed. The issue will be discussed at the City Council Briefing on October 11. Please continue to report any issues or lapses in service to publicworks@jaxbcfhl.net.”

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.