By Anna-Marie Menhenott
FORT PIERCE -- With the recent approval for the purchase of 5,000 64-gallon recycling carts, the commission has moved one step closer to a city-wide recycling program.
The purchase, which cost the city $222,150 ($111,075.00 from Waste Management and $111,075 from Solid Waste Department), will provide those currently participating in the recycling program the newer, larger recycling carts.
"All customers will receive the single 64-gallon cart," said Mike Reals, public works manager. "This is anticipated to be a two-year, phase-in project. The first 5,000 carts will roll out in July. Early next year they hope to roll out the other 5,000."
Although approximately 9,500 residents are participating in the program by paying monthly fees, only 1,200 to 1,800 actually use the blue and green recycling bins that have been provided. By partnering with Waste Management, it is anticipated that the program will grow and there will 70 to 80 percent participation.
There will be no additional costs to the public.
Each cart will be outfitted with an RFID tag that will identify which house it has been assigned to. This will help Waste Management identify which are heaviest users of the recycling program.
"They (Waste Management) will hit those areas that are participating currently," Mr. Reals said. "Then they are going to look to do it on a one-for-one basis. As they branch out into other areas in the community, people that are participating currently will be the first to receive the 64-gallon carts as they become available."
City Manager Robert Bradshaw said the program was on the fast track.
"We certainly appreciate Waste Management, who is expediting it on their end as fast as they can," he said. "They are very optimistic this thing is really going to be a big player for the city."