Jacksonville recycling program expanding despite complaints
by Laura Gaddy
lbjohnson@annistonstar.com
Jul 30, 2013 | 4225 views |  0 comments | 91 91 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A recycling bin awaits pickup on a Jacksonville curbside recently. The city will replace the familiar blue bins with bigger ones Wednesday. (Photo by Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
A recycling bin awaits pickup on a Jacksonville curbside recently. The city will replace the familiar blue bins with bigger ones Wednesday. (Photo by Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
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Jacksonville City Clerk Dot Wilson spent part of Monday at City Hall sorting through confusion about recycling program improvements that will begin Wednesday for some residents.

Since the waste management company Republic Services began issuing larger, 95-gallon recycling cans earlier this month, Wilson and other city employees have been fielding questions and listening to complaints from residents. Some residents were confused about the company’s new collection schedule, while others wanted the company to take the recycling cans back and others have had questions about which items can be recycled.

“There is a little confusion, but we’re just trying to work through it,” Wilson said.

Republic Services attached fliers with collection schedules and instructions to the bins when they were issued, but the fliers contained conflicting information about which plastics could be recycled. City officials also said some residents didn’t receive fliers with their cans.

“I’ve had a lot of people call in and say there was nothing on their carts,” said Mary Crook, a receptionist at City Hall.

Republic Services is an international company with an Anniston office. The recycling supervisor at the Anniston office, Reggie Isaac, explained the problems.

“It was just a minor typo, and I clarified it with the city of Jacksonville,” Isaac said. “We had enough made, and there's the possibility that some may have blown off.”

Isaac said the typo caused confusion over whether the company would except all recyclable plastics, or just a select few.

The company will collect plastics, metal cans and corrugated cardboard, with some exceptions. The company will not collect plastic bags, cardboard milk or juice cartons, glass, pizza boxes, loose shredded paper or medical waste, the flier states and Isaac confirmed.

The company divided the city into two routes for recycling collection, which will occur on Wednesdays. Those who live south of Mountain Street should roll their recycling carts to the curb to be collected Wednesday and alternating Wednesdays — Aug. 14, Aug. 28, etc., after that.

While those who live north of Mountain Street should wait until Aug. 7 to roll their new recycling bins to the curb. They too should continue rolling their recycling cans to the curb every other Wednesday — Aug. 21, Sept. 4, etc. — after their first collection date.

Those residents who do not want to take part in the program can opt out. By calling city officials, they can schedule a time for the company to take away the recycling cart, Wilson said.

While some residents have worried over the program changes, several have had no problems with them. Joseph Munster, who lives in the the Profile Mill neighborhood, said he received a cart with a flier attached and has heard no complaints or praises about the change from his neighbors.

For the past several years Jacksonville residents have received recycling tubs that were collected weekly at the curbside, but earlier this month Republic Services began providing the larger bins.

The city of Jacksonville decided to expand the recycling program and the size of the bins when they extended a contract with Republic Services this spring. By agreeing to opt in to the expanded program the city was able to avoid a rate increase, Mayor Johnny Smith said.

He added that collecting the larger recycling bins every other week with use of a truck with a mechanical arm will be less labor-intensive for the company. When the company was issuing the smaller bins, workers had to collect them weekly by hand.

Staff writer Laura Gaddy: 256-235-3544. On Twitter @LJohnson_Star.

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