City of Tybee ends curbside pickup for recycling

City ends curb-side pick up for recycling in Tybee Island

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - A new way to recycle will soon be starting on Tybee Island.

3,000 residents live on Tybee year round. This means, about 3,000 recycling bins are put out on the curb every week. The issue officials here on Tybee are concerned with is the amount of contaminated loads curb-side pick up is seeing when things that aren’t supposed to be recycled are mixed with things that are.

“Single stream recycling, which is a very popular and very convenient form of recycling has a host of problems,” said council member Monty Parks.

For years, problems with single stream recycling or, curb-side pick up, is the reason folks on Tybee will soon have a new way to recycle.

“Waste management companies and the companies that process the materials that are dropped off by the waste management companies both report very high levels of contamination,” said “Fight Dirty Tybee” volunteer Tim Arnold.

Things such as food and clothing can cause a whole load of recyclables to be contaminated.

“Putting your aluminum cans in a plastic bag and then dropping them in the container, that’s contaminated,” said Parks.

With curb-side pick up, recycling bins are being filled time and time again with things that companies overseas can’t use for sale and in turn it gets scrapped. Thus, comes this major change.

“It’s pretty complicated to go from drop everything in one bucket and everything magically happens to kind of a ‘do it yourself’ concept,” said Arnold.

In a few months, no one will be using these bins. Instead, residents and vacationers will have to take their recycling to a drop off location. This way, public works can make sure everything their buyers get is clean.

“We go through it and if we see major forms of contamination it comes out,” said Parks.

“It’s going to be probably lowering the number of people who actually participate in recycling, but increasing the amount of recycled materials that don’t go into the landfill,” said City Manager Shawn Gillen.

While it may not be the most convenient way to recycle for some, city leaders hope it’ll be a positive change for all.

“It beats the alternative of no recycling whatsoever,” said Parks.

“Our citizens are demanding it. They want a way to recycle, they want to do it differently and they want it to actually work,” said Gillen.

This new way of recycling doesn’t have an official start date. Right now they already have drop off locations at Jaycee Park, the fire station at Memorial Park and at Public Works. They do plan to have more locations in place once curb-side pick up is officially over.

Copyright 2020 WTOC. All rights reserved.