Curbside recycling is expanding.
For the first time in Pasco County’s recycling history, newspaper, cardboard and other mixed paper are now eligible for the county’s curbside pickup program.
No additional fees will be charged.
Residents who pay for twice-a-week trash service already are billed for the recycling service.
Items already accepted are aluminum cans, metal food cans, plastic bottles, jars and containers with numbered codes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7, and glass bottles and jars in clear, green and brown colors.
Now, county officials say residents can drop paper and cardboard into their recycling containers along with the jars, cans and bottles they normally discard.
In addition to newspapers, “mixed paper” includes inserts, junk mail, office paper, paper bags and wrapping paper. Cardboard includes shipping containers that have been flattened, cereal boxes, shirt inserts, cardboard tubes and shoeboxes.
The Pasco County Commission discussed the addition of paper and cardboard as pickup items at a May 17 workshop, and agreed the change made sense.
It is a good conservation measure, and “reduces and keeps landfill space free for other types of trash that can’t be recycled,” Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore said in an email to The Laker/Lutz News.
The six haulers who provide trash service to county residents began accepting the expanded list of recyclables effective June 29.
Paper and cardboard have been excluded from Pasco’s curbside recycling program since its inception.
However, nearly five years ago, the county joined with the Pasco County School District to provide drop-off centers for paper and cardboard products. The school district’s sites earn money for its schools; Pasco’s sites earn money for fire stations, libraries and parks.
Those drop-off centers remain as an option for discarding paper and cardboard, said Jennifer Seney, Pasco’s recycling supervisor.
Seney said she uses them and will continue to do so for very large cardboard boxes and shredded paper.
It’s a habit many residents have who also like helping out schools or parks, she added.
“They’ll continue to go there,” she said.
But, giving residents the curbside option hopefully will reduce the county’s overall trash stream and boost recycling.
In the long run, Seney said that could delay the need for an additional burner for the county’s Waste-to-Energy facility, and save money for taxpayers.
According to the county’s website, the Waste-to-Energy facility burned through about 341,000 tons of trash in 2015. About 20 percent, or 68,000 tons, was paper and cardboard. And, according to the county’s data, for every ton recycled, between 15 and 17 trees are saved.
For information on recycling, visit PascoCountyFl.net.
Published July 13, 2016