Automated garbage and recyclables collection is about to begin
Hillsborough County Solid Waste has placed signs like this one at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Shell Point Road in Ruskin to inform residents that new carts for garbage and recyclables will start being delivered tomorrow. LOIS KINDLE/Staff
SOUTH SHORE - Garbage collection in Hillsborough County is about to move into the 21st century.
Starting Wednesday, area residents will begin receiving two new rolling receptacles at their curbs - a 95-gallon, gray cart for garbage and a 65-gallon, blue cart for recyclables - that will enable collection truck drivers to empty them mechanically.
The automated process will save county taxpayers an estimated $10 million annually and reduce yearly solid waste collection and disposal assessments for single-family homeowners on their property tax bills from $231.17 to $222.75 in 2014. Cart cost is included, said Kim Dyer, transition manager for solid waste automated collection.
"It's a safer, cleaner, greener collection system for the future of Hillsborough County," she said. "It's safer because it involves only a driver who stays inside the truck, cleaner because it keeps neighborhoods free of litter and greener because all recyclables will now be placed in one cart."
Instead of having to sort paper, glass and plastics into bins, everything that's permitted will now go into the blue cart. And that list has expanded.
It will now include paper, glass, plastics numbered one through seven, cans, grocery bags, cardboard, aluminum foil and aseptic containers like juice and milk boxes.
There's more good news.
For the first time, Hillsborough County will receive revenues from recyclables, which Dyer said is estimated to be $1 million annually.
"We hope that by simplifying things folks will recycle more, rather than just tossing everything in the garbage," she said.
Currently about 30 percent of residents recycle.
The new carts will be easy for most residents to push or pull to the curb. However, to accommodate seniors in Sun City Center and Kings Point - who had special concerns about their size - the county agreed to distribute smaller, 35-gallon carts in January, after the final wave of seasonal residents return.
Usage instructions, service provider information and delivery days, which may change, will be included with the carts as they are distributed. Delivery will continue through Sept. 27, and automated collection will start Sept. 30.
Service will still include two garbage pickups, one recycling collection and one yard waste collection per week. Residents will continue to use their own containers and the same county-recommeded procedures for their yard waste, which does not lend itself to automation.
Less than 14 people who formerly collected trash will actually lose their jobs, Dyer said. Most who formerly emptied cans by hand are being trained for other positions.
For additional information, call (813) 272-5680 and press 1 for solid waste.