Investigates: Clay suspended curbside recycling in August, reports yard waste pickup on track

MIDDLEBURG, Fla. — Clay County suspended curbside recycling on Aug. 16 to make a dent in the yard waste backlog. More than a month later, county officials and neighbors report it is working.

County officials announced 10 recycling drop-off locations across Clay, similar to what Mayor Lenny Curry announced would happen in Jacksonville starting next week.

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Waste Management, the company contracted in Clay, uses its recycling trucks to pick up yard waste.

A representative for Clay County told Action News Jax’s Robert Grant that WM caught up with all missed yard waste pickups a week after recycling services were suspended.

“Garbage and yard waste are still on schedule, and the drop-off recycling program is working well. We will restore curbside recycling when Waste Management has the proper level of staffing, hopefully within the next several weeks.”

Action News Jax requested the number of yard waste complaints. From July 15 to Aug. 15, the county received a total of 132 complaints concerning yard waste pickup.

A month after recycling services were suspended, complaints dropped nearly 24% to 101. From Sept. 16 to Sept. 21, the county only received 12 complaints.

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“Complaints have drastically reduced since the suspension of recycling services, and due to the effective communications campaign, the County waged to keep residents informed,” a representative said.

Action News Jax visited Brennan Mill Plantation in July. The streets in the neighborhood were lined with yard waste. On a return visit, the street has been cleared, and neighbors report WM is on track.

“Night and day. They’ve been out here picking up with no problems at all,” Denise Gussler, a resident, said.

However, some neighbors said dropping off recycling is a hassle, and locations often fill up fast.

“It’s been a pain in the butt. We got to come here to recycle,” Tim Hackett said. He’s concerned people will opt to throw out their recycling in the trash rather than drop it off.

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On Sept. 14, Clay County commissioners voted to apply a rebate on the tax bills for recycling collection services not received from Aug. 16. through Sept. 30.

The recycle rebate is $3.04 per payer for a total of more than $203,000.