Recycling increases under new Tybee Island program

Recycling increases under new Tybee Island program

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - The City of Tybee launched its own recycling program back in April.

That’s after city leaders ended curbside pickup. City leaders say the response to the new program is surprising.

There were many problems, including mixed up trash loads, with single stream recycling. Now that this no longer exists, recyclables and trash getting mixed up has gone down.

This is because people are using bins to sort their trash before it heads to the Department of Public Works.

When choosing to end curbside pickup, Councilman Monty Parks says it all came down to reducing contamination.

“Single stream containers would have trash, they would have grease, they would have food products, old chairs and clothing,” said Parks.

Since April this hasn't been much of an issue.

"We have very clean product that we're producing for people and our residents seem to love it."

Parks says there are three bins on the island for people to take their recycling to. The idea is people will sort their recyclables at the bins.

These bins are picked up three times a week and sorted one last time by the DPW volunteers.

"Some of the DPW people have been incredibly ingenious in developing ways to make the product flow faster, the tables they've designed."

Since the pandemic, the DPW has seen massive amounts of cardboard getting recycled. So much so that they've had to buy two additional bins to put out for people specifically for cardboard.

“Right now we have 22 cardboard bales in our yard. Each one weighs about 1,100 pounds,” said Pete Gulbronson, City Engineer and Director of Infrastructure.

Pete Gulbronson, the City Engineer and Director of Infrastructure says while the recycling isn't nearly as contaminated it's still not always sorted correctly.

"Emptying the trailers and putting them into the correct bins, all three trailers, will probably take half a day."

Before curbside pickup ended, Parks says 50 percent of the recycling was going straight to the landfill because Atlantic Waste didn’t have the manpower to sort out all of the contamination.

“It was an incredible waste of energy and product. Now it’s 100 percent going to recycling.”

The city says they’ve been amazed by the support of the community.

"The passion that people bring to this is shocking and surprising. Another interesting thing is that we've started to get volunteers who want to come down here and help sort."

If you’re interested in volunteering with this program, you can contact the Department of Public Works.

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