Worker shortage forcing Florida cities to cut back on recycling

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 3:18 PM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Residents across Jacksonville found overflowing bins at recycling drop-off sites after the city suspended its curbside recycling program due to a shortage of workers.

The city opened 14 drop-off sites for recycling in an effort to allow waste haulers to focus on picking up regular trash and yard waste, Mayor Lenny Curry announced last week.

A similar suspension of curbside recycling began Monday in nearby St. Augustine. Officials say it is due to a nationwide shortage of workers in the waste collection industry.

Jacksonville City Council member Randy DeFoor told The Florida Times-Union that officials will have to keep tabs on the collection bins because there is a large demand among residents who have experienced delays in recycling pickup. On Monday many of the bins were filled to the top.

“It’s not going to be pretty for the first couple of weeks is my guess,” DeFoor said.

In St. Augustine, officials asked residents to keep their blue bins for when the curbside recycling program resumes, the St. Augustine Record reported.

“The city is working diligently toward bringing the recycling services in-house and will keep the residents informed and updated,” officials said in a statement.

Similar suspensions have occurred in other areas of the country due to waste worker shortages.

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