Residents are continuing to complain about the decision by the Polk County Commission to divert the bulk of plastic and all glass to the landfill instead of the new, larger recycling containers.
The question remains is whether Polk is a leader in more efficient recycling or simply an outlier responding to what may be a just temporary dip in recycling markets.
No other government in central Florida is following this trend. Some, such as Orange County, are accepting old plastic recycling bins for recycling after they were replaced by carts. Polk refuses to do this.
We’ve been advised to use them as yard waste receptacles or planters instead.
Waste & Recycling Director Ana Wood proposed the change and continues to defend it, arguing there was a lot of faux recycling going on. That is, a lot of stuff was going into bins that didn’t have much chance of being remanufactured into something else.
Wood also argues that if sometime in the future the markets change, there’s always an opportunity to mine the landfill for this material. Studies have shown that very little deteriorates in the anaerobic atmosphere beneath the landfill’s surface.
People do appear to be happy with the carts, however, since it means there’s less chance their recyclables will be blowing down the road as they were with the yellow bin system.
Finally, somehow the word on the conversion hasn’t reached everyone. There are still a surprising number of homes in some neighborhoods whose occupants are still putting yellow bins at curbside on the former collection day.