The Historic Old NE Neighborhood Association supports recycling and the protection of our environment. However, our position regarding the location of bins and pick-up differs from that currently being implemented by the City. Our Neighborhood Plan has long advocated for alleys being used for utilities and garbage pick-up. Therefore, we are reaching out to the city to reconsider recycling pick-up from the street in neighborhoods that have alley access. Please see below the Mayor’s Fact Sheet on why recycling must be done with curb-side pick-up.

The mayor appreciates your concern about this issue. He also had several concerns about the streetside pickups prior to receiving a full explanation from Public Works and Sanitation.

First, some facts –

Alleys are narrower than roads (typically 8’-12’ wide)

Alley solid waste containers are 300 gallons and serve three (3) to four (4) properties with twice per week collection.

Recycling containers are 95 gallons for each property with twice per month collection

Recycling containers are intended to be brought out for collection and returned thereafter; the alley solid waste containers remain in place

Some reasons we cannot do alley pickups –

Recycling containers would result in placement of three (3) to four (4) times more containers than currently exist in alleys.

Most alleys do not have enough room to accommodate recycling containers:

*Fences that have been pushed out to the end of property lines prevent any additional containers from being placed behind those homes

* Garages and driveways cannot be blocked with containers

* Cars parked in the alley block potential places for containers

* Many alleys are so narrow that placement of the required number of containers would make the alleys impassable for any vehicle, especially Sanitation collection and fire/rescue vehicles

* Overhead utilities (electric, cable and telephone lines) interfere with the automated side-arm collection of additional containers (the 300 gallon containers are placed in a fashion to avoid these obstacles and low lying branches)

* Containers left out after collection may interfere with routine collection of solid waste

* Recycling containers may interfere with collection of bulky items from the alley

* The additional traffic in the alleys from collection vehicles will result in more alley maintenance than roadway maintenance costs

Some FAQs –

Are communal alley bins possible? This was tried once and was done away with because of the excess contamination and perpetual alley dumpers. The less contamination = the better and more affordable single stream recycling is.

Will vehicles on the road in front of homes interfere with recycling pickups twice a month? Sanitation says they will leave their trucks and pick-up the rolling bins in front of people’s homes. This is the same thing Waste Pro currently does on a smaller scale (less than 10,000 homes) with no issues.

Will our bricks streets be damaged by recycling trucks? Waste Pro (and many other large vehicles) has been driving on our brick streets for years to pick up the smaller bins. Sanitation does not expect any additional impact on our roads or brick streets. Perhaps less so given we will be in the neighborhoods less than Waste Pro.

The model we are implementing is based on visits to similar cities. Our sanitation team was in Arizona last year looking at a city with same population and alley mileage and they do street side pickups.

Please understand that this isn’t perfect. It’s a huge shift for our residents in the City and our goal is to get it as right as possible.

Finally, while we want everyone to recycle, not everyone is required to do so. You’re only required to pay 2.95 a month. If having a bin on your lawn twice a month is an issue we do encourage residents to continue to utilize our community dumpsters spread throughout the city. (

Thanks for caring about this.

Kevin King
Chief of Staff, Mayor’s Office
City of St. Petersburg