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For all the shouting over access to alley recycling, an awful lot of folks are still bringing the blue bins to the curb

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Universal curbside recycling became universal ‘recycle where you put your trash’ last month, but not everyone has caught on.

I was recently taking a stroll through Historic Kenwood and stumbled on a number of big blue bins used for the new-ish recycling in St. Pete. They were parked on the curb, where the city told them last July they should be put.

But then the city changed that up after an uproar of citizens in places where trash is collected from alleys, not the curb, demanded access to alley pickup instead. Those types of homes account for about 40 percent of the city and most don’t have easy access to the curb from their front yards.

As of January 25th, the city instructed by way of literature tucked into utility bills, residents whose trash is picked up in alleys will also have recycling picked up in the alley.

But alas, who the heck bothers with those utility bill inserts? They wind up in the garbage – er – recycling probably more often than not.

So now the city is placing neon orange flyers directly onto misplaced blue bins.

“Oops! You’re recycling collection is now in the alley,” the flyers remind. “On your next recycling day please move your blue bin to the alley.”

The flyer lists guidelines for the new recycling location. The blue bins should be placed on the resident’s property within a “few feet of the alley.” Residents should allow three feet between the recycling bin and the giant, black solid waste containers and one foot between the container and fences, utility polls or any other items that might get in the way of collection. Residents should also not put their bins in a place that could block driveways or create traffic hazards.

And perhaps most important to the success of St. Pete’s modified recycling program, residents should move the recycling bins back into a secure area on their property such as behind a fence or in a garage after recycling has been picked up until the next recycling day. This will help avoid non-recyclable materials contaminating the bins by people placing miscellaneous items in an easily accessible bin along the alley.

The other side of the flyer also reminds users the dos and do nots for recycling in St. Pete’s program.

Do, in most cases, recycle plastic items with the recycling triangle numbered one through seven.

Do not place into blue bins, plastic grocery bags, plastic trash bags, plastic wrapping such as that from packages of water bottles or flimsy plastic packaging.

The new fliers also remind residents to break down cardboard boxes before placing them into bins and to never place recyclables for pickup outside the blue bins.

More information on how to be a good recycling steward is on the city’s website. There’s also a more comprehensive list of recycling dos and do nots on the St. Pete Collects app’s Waste Wizard. Both the website and app have an ongoing calendar of pickup dates and locations.

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 Patch.com 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 janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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