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Largo adds paper to recycling

But starting in October, glass will no longer be accepted in the curbside program.

By LORRI HELFAND
Published July 15, 2007


LARGO - Changes are in store for Largo recyclers.

Beginning in October, the city will no longer pick up glass from curbside bins and instead will collect mixed paper. Glass can still be recycled at city drop off centers.

The change follows a survey of about 1,000 residents. Most said mixed paper items, such as junk mail and magazines, made up the second largest part of their garbage, while glass made up the second smallest part.

The city also has received positive feedback since it added mixed paper recycling to drop off centers in March, said Brenna Barrett, the city's recycling coordinator.

"I've had numerous phone calls saying 'thank you for adding the mixed paper bins,' " Barrett said.

Recycling costs also played a role in the city's decision. Glass must be transported to a center in Sarasota, where the fuel cost is $57.91 per trip. The city received an average payment of $7 a ton for all colors of glass.

Mixed paper can be recycled locally at Clearwater's processing facility. After processing fees, Largo makes $29.10 per ton for mixed paper.

The switch from glass to mixed paper pickup could eventually increase city recycling revenues by $20,000 a year, officials said.

The city also collects aluminum cans, corrugated cardboard, newspapers and plastic bottles for recycling.

Last year, former city manager Steve Stanton proposed ending the recycling program entirely. City staff estimated that Largo could have saved about $170,000.

But two dozen residents wrote city leaders to complain, and commissioners vowed to keep the program. About 26 percent of Largo homes recycle each week, Barrett said.

While officials are currently calculating the exact costs of recycling, Barrett said recycled items bring in about $25,000 to $30,000 a month.

Lorri Helfand can be reached at 445-4155 or lorri@sptimes.com.

Fast Facts:

Largo recycling changes

-Add mixed paper to curbside recycling.

-End curbside recycling for glass.

-Keep clear, brown and green glass recycling at city drop off centers.

What's mixed paper? Any clean, dry paper item that tears: junk mail, envelopes, magazines, catalogs, office paper, shredded paper, folders, wrapping paper, cereal boxes, shoe boxes, paper towel rolls, phone books, and paperbacks.

What's not? Wax-coated paper such as milk cartons.

Largo dropoff locations: Tri-City Plaza, U.S. 19 N at East Bay Drive

Starkey Road Recycling Center, 1551 Starkey Road

To request a curbside bin in Largo, call the city at 587-6760.

For more information, contact recycling coordinator Brenna Barrett at 586-7424 or log onto largorecycles.com.

For general recycling info check out Pinellas County utilities recycling guide at pinellascounty.org/utilities/getridofit