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Eight meetings scheduled in St. Pete to teach residents how to recycle

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Universal curbside recycling rolls out in St. Pete this July. To gear up, the city is inviting residents to attend one of eight meetings throughout the city to learn more about the program.

Because the bi-weekly recycling program gets cheaper the more tonnage is recycled, officials want to make sure they are maximizing the number of people participating and making sure those who do choose to recycle are doing it right.

Residents in 76,000 single-family homes and multi-family residences with up to four units will begin receiving the 95-gallon blue bins in May, but are being told to wait until July to start filling them up.

The neighborhood meetings will emphasize that and also provide crucial information about what can and cannot be recycled. Materials like plastics and glass can be put in the bins together once they’ve been rinsed and are free of food particles. Dirty containers cannot be recycled.

The bins can also take cardboard and paper and the different materials will be separated after collection to make recycling easier for residents.

There are some items that can’t be recycled through the program like plastic bags, pizza boxes, used paper plates, styrofoam or take-out containers, light bulbs, mirrors, ceramics, electronics, paint, pesticides, and batteries.

The service will cost residents $2.95 on their monthly utility bills whether or not they use the service.

The first meeting is Monday at the J.W. Cate Center on 22 Avenue North. Other meetings will be at the Willis S. Johns Center on MLK Street just north of 62 Avenue North, Roberts Recreation Center on 50 Avenue North, the SPC Allstate Center on 34 Street South, the Child’s Park Center on 13 Avenue South, the Frank W. Pierce Center on 7 Street South and Gladden Park on 30 Avenue North.

City Council members will be on hand at each of the meetings. Residents are encouraged to go to the meeting closest to their neighborhood, but are welcome at any of the eight.

More information is also available on the city’s website for those who have questions, but can’t attend.

All of the meetings will be at 6:30 p.m.

Here is the complete list of locations for the meetings:

District 1 March 23 J.W. Cate Center, 5801 22nd Ave. N. Council Chair Charlie Gerdes

District 2 March 24 Willis S. Johns Center, 6635 Dr. M.L. King Jr. St. N. Council Member Jim Kennedy

District 3 March 31 Willis S. Johns Center, 6635 Dr. M.L. King Jr. St. N. Council Member Bill Dudley

District 4 April 2 Roberts Recreation Center, 1246 50th Ave. N. Council Member Darden Rice

District 5 April 7 SPC Allstate Center, Florida Room, 3200 34th St. S. Council Member Steve Kornell

District 6 April 14 Frank W. Pierce Center, 2000 7th St. S. Council Member Karl Nurse

District 7 April 21 Childs Park Center, 4301 13th Ave. S. Council Member Newton

District 8 April 28 Gladden Park Center, 3901 30th Ave. S. Vice Chair Amy Foster

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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