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Clearwater expands recycling program

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Clearwater expands recycling program

 By: Steve Nichols, FOX 13 Pinellas Bureau Reporter – bio


CLEARWATER (FOX 13) – The city of Clearwater is prepared to spend more than $2-million to take recycling to a new level. Most of that money will pay for 26,000 bright blue carts that closely resemble the black dumpsters now used for household trash. They are also the same size and will be handled the same way.

“They put all of their recyclables in that cart, and then an automated truck comes up, arm comes out, grabs it, goes to the next house,” Director of Solid Waste Earl Gloster explained. “That’s how I can cut that fleet in half.”

Right now, residents are given much smaller curbside bins that are hand-sorted at the truck. The new system is called “single-stream recycling,” which means the sorting will be done at a central location.

Clearwater has had an aggressive recycling program since 1996. It also handles recycling pickups for four other Pinellas cities.

Gloster said about 35 percent of the city’s waste stream is currently diverted to recycling. The single-stream concept has been piloted in five neighborhoods. The results suggest city-wide implementation of single-stream recycling will pop that rate up to 60 percent.

It may also position the city to meet a state mandate to recycle 75 percent of its waste stream by 2020.

“As we educate people more and they start to put more in that blue container…and less in that black container, we can get to that 75-percent goal,” Gloster predicted.

The new system should be in place by October 1.

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