DADE CITY — Pasco County Commission approved an ordinance June 4 that will allow local waste haulers the options of raising their fees for the first time in a decade.
Under the new rate schedule, waste haulers will have the maximum rate they can charge a month increased from $12.44 to $16.81.
The new monthly collection rate is in response to the fact there has been no base rate adjustment since 2009 and there is now weekly recycling service required as part of the county’s new solid waste procedures.
Haulers can begin charging the new rate only after they have begun implementation of the weekly recycling service.
The ordinance requires service to begin within 90 days of the passage of the new collection ordinance, which took place at the June 4 meeting.
The new rate increase for curbside collection will have no impact on residential landfill tipping fees or annual assessment rates.
Pasco has historically been at the bottom of the scale of annual solid waste fees compared to other communities who use waste to energy technology to dispose of nonrecyclable solid waste, county officials say.
Of the 10, Pasco is ranked ninth, with an annual solid waste fee of $214.29. With the increase, it will jump to number five, with an annual fee of $266.72.
Miami-Dade County has the state’s highest solid waste fee, $464 a year.
The action of the Pasco Commission to finalize the new ordinance and fees came without any comment from the public.
While the ordinance took effect upon passage, waste haulers have 90 days to begin the new weekly curbside recycling schedule.
Another new wrinkle in the new solid waste rules is glass will no longer be accepted as recyclable.
Glass objects will now be required to be placed into containers used for everyday garbage.
“This increase in service is a reflection of Pasco County’s commitment to future sustainability and to our citizens,” said Solid Waste Director John Power. “Though removing glass may seem counter-intuitive, it increases the overall reuse if collected materials, eases process and maximizes our positive environmental impact.”
The decision to take glass out of the recycling stream comes as the county has found there is no market in the state for recycled glass and the processing and transport costs for glass has reached the $100,000-plus annual level.
In order to participate in the new weekly curbside recycling schedule, customers should contact their trash hauler for a pick-up schedule, order an optional recycling cart through their trash hauler, or use their own container as recycling is accepted in containers with a recycling sticker.
The changes given final approval June 4 seemed destined after commissioners were told during an April workshop of the imminent need to expand the county landfill and the “drag” recycling glass has put on the county’s recycling income.
Haulers now have up to 90-days to begin providing the service.
The new ordinance requires haulers to provide recycling carts to residents upon request, for which a monthly fee will be charged.
The change that will get most recycle enthusiasts attention is the phasing out of glass from the list of recyclables.
County staff told commissioners last month there is no recyclables market for glass.
“Glass is not recycled, but pulled from the stream and landfilled,” the fact sheet given to commissioners stated. “Glass decreases other commodities’ value.”
The fact which got the attention of commissioners was that glass “has high processing and transport costs,” an amount which totaled more than $100,000 in fiscal year 2018 alone.
The ordinance contains no initial consequences for glass remaining in the recycling bins.
The Commission is also preparing to allow haulers to increase their rates.