JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With recycling on hold in Jacksonville, a national company is stepping in.
Recyclops is a subscription-based company that will come to your house and pick up your recycling for a monthly fee.
It calls itself an Uber-like company that has a goal of filling the void in cities where recycling programs have been impacted due to the pandemic. The company is already in 170 cities across the country and it looks like Jacksonville is next.
Recyclops said it needs 100 people to sign up for the service before it launches the service in the city. It charges a starting rate of $12 a month, and up to $22 a month, to come to your house and pick up your recycling. Right now, Jacksonville residents have to take their recycling to one of 14 city-sponsored sites that have been overwhelmed at times.
“What makes it efficient is that we’re not, we’re not having to buy $400,000-plus recycling trucks that are super heavy and tear up the streets of the city,” said Dennis Wise, Recyclops Vice President of Sales and Business Development. “And also, on the employment side, we do not have full-time employees that are Recyclops employees. These are gig economy employees in that region, they’re looking for a job, and a lot of times they actually are Uber drivers.”
Wise said the business has grown in the last two years with more than 200 municipalities, like Jacksonville, pausing or canceling their curbside recycling programs due to cost and COVID-related issues.
“Jacksonville is a unique situation. We right now are only planning on operating in Jacksonville until they get their program up and running again. So it’s really a stopgap measure,” Wise said.
In Jacksonville, the city has said its contractors are having trouble finding enough drivers willing to work for the salary offered.
“You have a case where you have sanitation drivers...that have a classification, you know, a CDL classification that enables them to drive other types of vehicles, big vehicles, and those are better-paying jobs than you would find at these municipal positions, and also, perhaps maybe a better lifestyle,” Wise said. “So you really got that competition that’s driving the problem with having enough drivers for waste collection and recycling collection.”
Wise said their drivers make on average $25 an hour, can work when they want to and only need a regular driver’s license. They use pickup trucks and trailers and will take your recycling to a facility in the city.
He thinks the company could start service in Jacksonville by February and add another 100 cities around the country by the end of the year.
“You cannot cut waste or trash collection services. It’s you cannot do it. It’s a breakdown society, right?” Wise said. “But recycling? Well, you know, they usually get the short end of the stick. And that’s where a company like ours comes in.”
Wise said the biggest expansion in for the company has been in the Midwest and the Southeast where recycling isn’t as big of a priority as it is in places like the West Coast.
Curbside recycling was suspended in Jacksonville in October so workers could get caught up on yard waste pickup. A city spokesperson told News4JAX on Tuesday there is no timetable for its return.
The spokesperson also told News4JAX no one in its solid waste or public works division has been contacted by Recyclops yet.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry is planning to address the issue soon by putting out another reminder about the dos and don’ts of recycling.