Universal curbside recycling supporters call on public to speak at St. Pete City Council

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The city of St. Pete will hear from members of the public about a proposed universal curbside recycling program. A public hearing is set for Monday at 6:00 p.m. to discuss the recycling service for all single family residences.

City council and the mayor have already said they support the measure and has made recommendations to begin a universal program using city workers.

Though some residents oppose the measure because it will add a mandatory fee for all utility customers whether they use the service or not, a larger group is asking supporters to bring their message to the November 24 meeting.

Supporters have created a Facebook event for the meeting. On that page they list reasons to support universal curbside recycling. They say the program’s proposed cost is just $2.95 per billing cycle, which is lower than the current $3.75 fee charged to customers who pay for an optional recycling service through the city.

The current service provides two open plastic bins that are small and subject to the elements on pick-up day. The new universal program would likely provide users with a large rolling bin with a lid.

The group also points out the more tonnage recycled the more money the city gets back for the program. That could further reduce costs as the program gains popularity. Increased recycling would also lead to less regular trash collection. The city currently pays a $37.50 per ton tipping fee for trash. A reduction in those fees could also lead to a reduction in costs for customers.

St. Pete is the last major Florida city not to offer curbside recycling.

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.