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Jacksonville residents putting regular trash into city recycling dumpsters, causing issues

Monday was the first day of a new temporary recycling system in Jacksonville as the city deals with solid waste and yard waste back-ups due to pandemic-related worker shortages. There are now 14 recycling drop-off locations around the city and some of those sites were already overflowing with more than just recyclables.
Monday was the first day of a new temporary recycling system in Jacksonville as the city deals with solid waste and yard waste back-ups due to pandemic-related worker shortages. There are now 14 recycling drop-off locations around the city and some of those sites were already overflowing with more than just recyclables.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Monday was the first day of a new temporary recycling system in Jacksonville as the city deals with solid waste and yard waste back-ups due to pandemic-related worker shortages.

There are now 14 recycling drop-off locations around the city and some of those sites were already overflowing on day one, but not only with recyclable materials.

City officials said the problem is not everyone is following the “no trash” and “recycling only” rule and are therefore creating yet another challenge for the public works department.

The shift in service is a big change from the old curbside system but it hasn’t stopped residents like Dan Coffman from recycling.

“We’ll make the effort. As long as they can take the stuff really, we can only keep our stuff so long, you know?” Coffman said.

The city said it made the shift due to a lack of manpower and that priority needed to be shifted to the backup of regular trash collection and yard waste.

“I hope it’s a very temporary situation. I have no answers for their manpower shortage, but that’s what we elect the guys for, to come up with ideas,” Coffman said.

Before Monday’s pickup, most of the drop-off sites News4Jax checked were completely full with many of them overflowing. But as City of Jacksonville Public Works Director John Pappas told The Morning Show, the issue isn’t how much recycling is being dropped off, but the regular trash that’s mixed in with it.

“There is not the manpower to sift through it,” Pappas said. “The facility that goes through all the material and recycles what’s available cannot take plastic bags, cannot take yard waste, cannot take garbage, so no, it needs to be separated and only brought to those remote sites what is truly recyclable and not in bags.”

A couple of reminders for those who are planning to recycle. It’s free to do it at any of the 14 sites across the city. The hours are from sunrise to sunset at each location.

Here’s what you should NOT include in your drop-off:

  • Saran wrap, styrofoam, packing peanuts
  • Plastic eating utensils, hangers, medicine bottles
  • Any material that is contaminated with food waste
  • Aerosol cans, shredded paper, batteries
  • Cables, wires, rubber
  • Obviously do not put the recycling in a plastic trash bag

About the Author:

Joe covers education and breaking news. He is a frequent contributor to the News4Jax I-team and Trust Index coverage.