Clearwater looks to increase recycling, cut back trash pickup - FOX 13 News

Clearwater looks to increase recycling, cut back trash pickup

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CLEARWATER (FOX 13) -

Clearwater residents have increased their recycling volume by more than 150 percent since October 1st, and reduced the volume of other refuse in the process.

That sets up the possibility of cutting regular trash pickups in half -- but not yet.

"We dropped the ball," Mayor George Cretekos admitted Tuesday.

The solid waste department had selected two neighborhoods for the once-a-week trash pickup experiment, and some residents pushed back.

"We reached out to the neighborhood associations thinking they would pass that information along, but some of the neighborhoods within the overall test area weren't part of a neighborhood association," Cretekos explained.

Monday the city council put the pilot project on hold, possible until next spring.

One big question that may not be answered by then is price. In round numbers, households now pay about $25 a month for trash services and $2.25 for recycling.

As volume shifts, both prices may need adjustments.

"Once we get that rate study done, the study will tell us whether we need to raise the rates, leave them the same or we can actually drop our rates," solid waste operations manager John Pittman told FOX 13 News.

In the meantime, while there were objections to once a week pickups in the two pilot areas, the Village On The Green neighborhood volunteered for the reduced service. Cretekos predicted it will be included in the pilot project. Eventually the city hopes to divert 75 percent of its waste stream to recycling.

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