Polk County residents upset about trashing recycling

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Around 100,000 Polk County residents will not have their recycling picked up for the next several weeks.

That’s because those residents did not respond to a mailer to request the required new carts, and now there’s a waiting list to get one.

Residents told News Channel 8 they are upset that their recycling will instead get dumped at the landfill.

“It’s frustrating. I like to recycle. I feel like we’re doing something for my community,” Gabrielle Quinones told News Channel 8.

“That’s not really recycling is it?” Jesus Lopez said.

In March, the county sent out cards to let residents know that they were making the switch from the previous yellow bins, to new, larger carts.

Residents who responded got a new cart.

But, around 100,000 residents did not respond, and therefore, did not get the new cart.

“I never received a letter,” Lopez said.

“I don’t know how we could have reached out any stronger,” Polk County Communications Director Mianne Nelson said. “We sent direct mail to all of our residents, and then followed up with newspaper ads and social media to encourage people to return the cards.”

According to Nelson, residents need to contact the county to request a recycling cart. New carts are not expected to be delivered until at least November 1, not in January as originally anticipated.

“As a result of multiple requests from residents asking for a faster delivery date, the cart distribution schedule was modified to accommodate the needs of our residents,” said Waste and Recycling Director Ana Wood.

For those residents who have not received a cart, or requested one, they can still participate in Polk’s recycling program. Residents may call customer care at Polk County Waste & Recycling at (863) 284-4319 or send an email to polkwastewise@polk-county.net to request one. Roll carts will not automatically be delivered to every household in unincorporated Polk County.

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