Make curbside recycling mandatory

Q: Name three policies pushed by Mayor Bill Foster during his administration that you support and would advocate continuing. Name three others that you would want to change. A: "I will continue to support the efforts at curbside recycling but go beyond the half-measures and make it mandatory."


Tampa Bay Times questionnaire, July 2013, Times debate, Oct. 15, 2013

Subjects: Environment


City approves plan to start mandatory recycling by summer 2015

Rick Kriseman promised during his campaign to make curbside recycling mandatory in St. Petersburg, and the City Council has agreed. Whether you waste the three bucks you'll have to pay the city is up to you.

The council agreed in a 7-0 vote on Nov. 24 to implement curbside recycling next summer. St. Petersburg was the last large city in Florida to not offer a broadbased curbside recycling program for residents.

The plan calls for residents of the city's 80,000 single-family residences to pay $2.95 per month on their current trash removal bill. The new fee is scheduled to take effect when service starts.

The city will spend $4.1 million to purchase new 95-gallon blue bins for recyclables and $2 million on a half-dozen new trucks to make every-other-week rounds to pick up the new loads.

The strategy was adopted by the council after a prior plan approved in February to use an outside company failed in July because no contractors submitted a bid to provide the service for the city. The Kriseman administration went back to the drawing board and crafted a new plan to use city sanitation workers and perform the work in-house.

The program won't serve businesses or apartment complexes, but it could expand in the future. The program is mandatory in that everyone will have to pay the $2.95 fee, but there are no penalties for not participating.

Currently, a fraction of residents pay an outside service to pick up small bins of recyclables set on the curb weekly. The city wants to improve the current participation rate from 10 percent to 100 percent.

Computer chips will be embedded into the new bins to survey participation rates. The city is also considering a plan to offer a reward system to residents who recycle. Prolific recyclers would get points to accumulate for discounts at local businesses.

The plan is to promote recycling habits strong enough that pickup can move to once a week, while twice-weekly trips to pick up traditional refuse can be cut down.

The plan isn't yet fully implemented, but the city has taken out the necessary loans and ordered the bins and trucks to carry out the program. Barring a calamitous change in circumstances, Kriseman's vow to make curbside recycling mandatory will be a reality by the middle of his second year in office. We rate this a Promise Kept.


Tampa Bay Times, "Universal recycling finally coming to St. Petersburg," Feb. 20, 2014

Tampa Bay Times, "No bidders for St. Petersburg recycling contract as mayor mulls options," July 19, 2014

Tampa Bay Times, "St. Pete council gets details on curbside recycling and arts funding," Oct. 2, 2014

Tampa Bay Times, "St. Petersburg Council approves recycling contracts," Nov. 24, 2014

City plans new recycling services

During the campaign, candidate Rick Kriseman said he would support curbside recycling and make it mandatory. Under the current system, people can choose to subscribe to an optional recycling service.

Last week, St. Petersburg staffers moved forward with plans to implement a universal curbside recycling program by September; staffers are working on a request to seek vendors for the service.

The Kriseman administration expects the City Council to vote for the final plan on June 19. The program will be voluntary in the sense that those who don't recycle won't be penalized. But all 76,000 residential customers will have to pay $3 a month for the service, and in that sense, it is mandatory.

We're rating this promise In the Works.


Tampa Bay Times, Universal recycling finally coming to St. Petersburg, Feb. 20, 2014