Pasco County commissioners this week unanimously endorsed a major expansion of the county's recycling program that does away with the requirement to use blue bags for recycled goods.
Under the new program, "Curb It Pasco," residential customers will be able to use any container for recycled plastic, metal and glass and the county's waste haulers will pick it up curbside every other week. The county will produce and mail reflective stickers to more than 200,000 households detailing which products the county will and won't accept.
"The key to this whole program is the reflective sticker," Recycling Coordinator Jennifer Seney said. "You've got to put the sticker on the container."
Haulers then would accept six of the seven categories of plastic containers, Nos. 1 through 5 and 7 for recycling. Under the current setup, only No. 1 and No. 2 plastic, plus aluminum and bimetal food cans and clear, brown and green glass bottles and containers are accepted.
Commissioner Henry Wilson, a vocal advocate for recycling, has been the driving force behind the expansion, but Seney said without "buy-in" from the county's haulers it never would have gotten off the ground. She hopes the added convenience will help raise the county's paltry recycling numbers.
"I'm hoping people go out and buy a big roll-out container and fill it up every two weeks," she said. "As long as they don't fill it to the top with glass, because it can't weigh more than 40 pounds."
The county still won't accept paper, newsprint or any type of Styrofoam products.
Seney estimates it will cost $214,200 to produce and mail the reflective stickers, as well as promotional materials for the new program. The haulers will reimburse the county for half of the cost.
The program is slated to begin June 1.
"I'm obviously wanting to go earlier," Seney said.