It’s been three months since the City of Bradenton made a significant change to the way recycling materials are collected, and the program is proving very successful, officials say.
Since the beginning of June, Bradenton has only conducted curbside garbage and yard waste collection, leaving residents to haul their recycling to one of the city’s many drop-off sites. According to city officials, the change means more recycling is being processed.
Before moving from curbside pickup to drop-off centers, Bradenton executives said up to 70% of recyclables would end up in landfill instead. Recycling materials are not recycled when there is too much regular trash mixed in, according to city officials.
But with drop-off centers dedicated to residents, there has been a massive turnaround. As of Tuesday afternoon, a city spokesperson said the vast majority of recycling from drop-off centers had been successfully recycled.
“All sites experience 80-90% clean, usable recycled material,” Bradenton public information officer Jeannie Roberts wrote in an email to the Bradenton Herald. “That’s a huge improvement from the 70% contamination rate we were getting curbside.”
Reached for comment Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Gene Brown also thanked residents for their cooperation and praised the city’s updated recycling program.
“When people put in the effort to drive it, it’s done well,” Brown said. “The city’s goal was not to reduce recycling, but to increase it.”
In February, Public Works Director Jim McLellan said the city’s recycling trucks were so contaminated with regular trash that there was just “an illusion of recycling,” but at a recent meeting of the Bradenton City Council, he touted the latest numbers.
More residents are using recycling collection points and they’re becoming more popular, McLellan said.
“It’s going to keep growing,” he said, referring to the city’s monthly recycling tonnage.
Bradenton first announced changes to the retraining program in July 2021, highlighting a shortage of available truck drivers. Despite a series of financial incentives, this shortage remains. Other cities in Florida have been forced to eliminate recycling entirely.
But city leaders are constantly monitoring the recycling program and tweaking the system to ensure collection bins are emptied frequently and set up in popular locations.
In the coming months, Brown wants to find a way to bring curbside recycling pickup back.
“We recycle more than before. How can we develop this further? We could double or triple it. Maybe that’s what we needed to take it to the next level. Hopefully when we bring the curb back (pickup) we’ll have even more. »
Visit www.CityOfBradenton.com for more information on the city’s recycling program.