May 3, 2023 - News

St. Petersburg and Clearwater residents get green upgrades

Animated illustration of a hand drawn recycling symbol changing to a flat recycling symbol, and then to a 3d recycling symbol.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Eco-friendly waste programs are being overhauled across Pinellas County to help residents go green successfully.

Driving the news: St. Petersburg recently announced the return of its backyard composting program, which now requires an in-person workshop.

  • Clearwater just launched a new tool to track how many tons of waste are being recycled each month.

Between the lines: For St. Petersburg, the issue was resident education.

  • St. Petersburg put its composting program on hold last year, the city's sanitation director told WTSP, citing "resident feedback." Improperly composting can turn your bin into a smelly mess and attract pests.
  • Clearwater, on the other hand, wants to earn back trust following lapses in its recycling program that went back years.

Flashback: Earlier this year, an investigation into the Clearwater recycling breach found that the city's Solid Waste Department didn't take recyclables to its processing facility for the last half of 2022, but residents were still charged for the service.

  • The city later learned the issue dated back further, to 2019.
  • The FBI offered to help Clearwater investigate in February.

What we're watching: City Manager Jennifer Poirrier told the Tampa Bay Times she plans to revive a discussion about issuing refunds for the lack of recycling for part of 2022.

  • Poirrier says she'll bring the idea back up to City Council in July.

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