Recycling getting combined with trash in Fort Myers

Published: July 13, 2021 4:15 PM EDT
Updated: July 15, 2021 4:45 AM EDT

Recycling that had been separated is now being thrown in with piles of trash. Now, residents in Fort Myers are upset since they expect their recycling to go to the correct location after taking the time to separate it.

There is a reason workers may be putting some of those recyclables in with the trash.

Kris lives on Hanson Street in Fort Myers and wrote WINK News with a question: “Would it be possible for you to look into the City of Fort Myers recycling program?”

He claims that “many of us diligently separate [trash from recyclables] and then [the city] dumps it into the same truck.”

Another person on Hanson Street was wondering the same thing. “They would take both of them together, one cycle instead of having two trucks come.”

“Just the past couple of weeks or so during the construction.”

Kris said, “if it’s all one big ruse, the city should stop the charade and fees.”

WINK News took that email to Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson to ask him if the city is trashing recyclables. Anderson looked into the complaint and explained the situation.

He says that the city only sends the trash truck, not the recycling truck, to neighborhoods where there is construction underway, which can make it dangerous and time-consuming for sanitation workers to do their jobs.

“I imagine it’s an attempt to speed things up and get all of the trash from the road,” a neighbor said.

In those cases, trash and recyclables are taken to Lee County’s Waste-to-Energy facility where they’re burned together. Mayor Anderson says that these cases are rare and are only temporary and that most recyclables go to Lee County’s recycling facility.

“I’m concerned but also confident that things are being taken care of correctly and we’re getting the best possible scenario from recycling,” a neighbor said. “It’s a temporary thing.”

It may be a temporary thing but those that live along Hanson Street say they hope to see the recycling truck back in their neighborhood soon.

The City of Fort Myers said 79,000 tons of recycling went to Lee County’s recycling facility in 2020. The city said they encourage all residents to recycle as much as possible.