Tybee Island ends curbside recycling pickup

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TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) – Cities across the country are making changes to their recycling programs and Tybee Island’s city officials said they are doing their part to “stay ahead of the curve.”

Contaminated recyclables ending up in the landfill, worldwide changes to the recycle stream, and a large tourist population are all factors Tybee Island officials attributed as motivation for them to end their curbside recycling pickup.

Tybee Island’s City Manager, Shawn Gillen, said although this change may reduce the amount of people who recycle, they hope it will ultimately lead to more recycled material.

“There’s no market for recycling anymore, it’s harder and harder to get people to take recycling, especially when it’s contaminated like ours so we think that although not as many people will actually be doing recycling, we’ll actually get more material recycled because that material will be clean, it will be baled, it will be sold off,” Gillen stated.

On April 1st, the city’s waste management (Atlantic Waste), will stop picking up recycled material but they will start picking up trash twice a week. The city will inform community members about the changes to their pickup schedules, but the City Manager said he hoped adding an extra pickup day would reduce any extra trash accumulated by the people who choose to not take their recyclables to the city’s drop off sites.

“We had the issue of what’s going to happen with these people who don’t recycle and all of a sudden they’ve got more garbage, because what they would normally recycle is now going to the garbage. We’ve worked with Atlantic to just do a trade out; they’ve stopped curbside recycling but they would do twice a week garbage collection so that resolves that issue,” Shawn Gillen, the city’s manager, said.

The Gillen said people putting clothes and food in with their recyclables and the Chinese recycling market collapsing motivated their decision to change their program. He encouraged people to take plastics #1 and #2, tin cans, cardboard, aluminum cans and bottles, and mixed paper supplies to the different recycling trailers they will have available.

The recycling trailers will be located in Memorial Park, Jaycee Park, and on the west side of Polk Street between Fort Avenue and Bay Street. The drop off sites will be open 24 hours a day, and will have separate compartments for each designated material. Officials asked community members to break down their cardboard and sort their recyclables before dropping them off.

Gillen said he plans to keep his recycle bin for yard waste. Community members who want to do the same, can keep their bins and Atlantic Waste will stencil ‘yard wast’ on the side. Gillen said if you do not want your recycle bin, the city will come pick it up.

“We worked on this for about a year, and over that year the recycling situation got worse and worse, so the council made that decision about two months ago, we’ve been pushing information out to the public and we will do that again in the April Newsletter,” Gillen said.

Any questions or concerns can be directed to the Recycling Coordinator Office at 912-651-1967.

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