AVON PARK — The city will start collecting the recycling bins it purchased in 2012 for $190,000 after the City Council decided Monday evening that curbside recycling is no longer economically feasible.
The city stopped its curbside recycling collection after Hurricane Irma so city staff could focus on storm debris removal and other storm-related issues. The economics of recycling, with China changing its policies in accepting recyclables, made it a money-losing venture.
At Monday’s City Council meeting, Deputy Mayor Jim Barnard said some residents are still using the blue and yellow recycling bins for garbage. So the city has to do something one way or another with the recycling bins.
“I don’t think it is cost effective to do recycling now and I don’t think it is cost effective to keep those carts,” he said. “We either need to get rid of them, store them or charge people who want to use them for garbage.”
City Manager David Flowers said if the wheels are taken off the carts they can be stacked high and stored in a building at Pine Acres. If they are not going to be used, the city should get rid of them. They could be recycled.
Barnard suggested checking with the company the city bought them from to see if another city could use them.
The city started its curbside collection recycling program in 2012 with a five-year contract with Republic Services. When the contract expired in 2017, Republic increased its proposed cost significantly to continue the once-a-week recycling collection, which prompted the city to explore other options, including having city workers collect the recyclables.
The city was picking up recyclables every week and transporting the loads to a Lakeland recycling facility until suspending the recycling program in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
Councilman Stanley Spurlock made a motion to collect the recycling carts, which was seconded by Barnard. Council voted unanimously, 4-0, to collect the bins. Councilwoman Brenda Gray was absent from the meeting.
Flowers said the city will advertise that it will be picking up the carts within a certain time period, probably sometime in March, but noted it won’t be done in a couple of days.