Decision to be made on recycling glass as curbside service in Duval nears return

Special city council workshop held on solid waste

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In five weeks, curbside recycling will return in Duval County, but there’s a chance some items you’re accustomed to recycling might no longer be accepted — like glass.

It was expected there would be a decision on that during a special city council workshop on solid waste, but some council members are putting that on hold for a bit.

During the meeting, they did get an update from Republic Services, which processes the recycled goods that are picked up in Jacksonville. Council members learned what items are not recyclable, such as plastic bags and pizza boxes and why there is no longer a market to recycle glass.

It’s expected there will be a decision soon concerning glass and if the city should keep collecting it.

At one of Jacksonville’s recycling drop-off sites, which are still open, I talked to people like JoAnn Marsh about recycling and the possible changes that could come soon.

“I know they can only recycle things that they have a market to sell. And if they don’t have a market to sell glass, well, then they can’t recycle it,” Marsh said.

“I understand the city’s perspective,” said Dave Engahl. “If it’s costing a lot of money to recycle it, it may be a budget issue.”

But others, like Alton Coles, say not recycling glass is a mistake.

“I think it’s a poor decision,” Coles said. “Glass is reusable, so why not recycle glass and cut down on the amount of plastic that’s being manufactured?”

I asked Coles about the fact that the city does not make any money off of glass.

“Well, we talk about making money on everything else,” he replied. “Just look at the environment.”

Coles says that’s what is important. At Thursday’s solid waste workshop, some council members agreed.

Councilman Matt Carlucci suggested the city wait and see. He says people need to get back into a regular curbside recycling schedule before the city makes changes.

The special committee of council members are expected to come up with recommendations by the end of June, but we could also see a recommendation on glass come out next week.

The current drop-off recycling sites will close once curbside recycling returns. It’s expected that more info on that will come out next week.

Many living in apartments, which don’t have recycling, indicated they really like having the drop-off locations.

During the meeting, the head of city’s public works department says they’re looking to see if recycling services to apartments and businesses could be a possibility down the road. That could be one of the recommendations late this year.

About the Author:

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