Clearwater offers incentives to recycle

The City of Clearwater said it needs solid waste customers to recycle more than ever before because trash pickup is now limited to once a week.  

Solid Waste Director Earl Gloster said the volume of recyclable materials has more than tripled since 2013, when the city switched to single-stream recycling.  

The downside: Profits went away at the same time. 

"We haven't been able to make any money off it probably since we started single-stream" Gloster admitted, because the collections from big blue bins now have to be sorted and sold by a processing plant in Tampa. 

Before 2013, residents pre-sorted recyclables in smaller, separate curbside bins, allowing the city to sell materials directly. Gloster said the plan now is to eliminate the middle man. 

"We're trying to create a process here, where we're going to collect and then process our own recyclables here and then, like we were doing before, go back directly to the market," he said.

Getting there will take a about a year. However, the reduction in regular trash pickups has already been reduced to once a a week. 

That increases the need to recycle, so the city has adopted an incentive program called Recycle Perks.  As of Friday, more than 1,200 customers had signed up to earn points toward discounts from nearly 30 local businesses.  "

You can actually make about $25 a month in coupons if you max out your participation, which pretty much covers your sold waste/recycling bills," Gloster claimed.