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City of Jacksonville now has inspectors who check your recycling bin

Council Vice President Salem said having inspectors could save the city thousands of dollars in the future.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The City of Jacksonville wants residents to recycle responsibly, otherwise, crews might not empty your recycling bin. 

As of Monday, the city acquired inspectors. Their job is to check and make sure residents are recycling the correct items.

One would know if they are not following the rules, because inspectors will leave a tag that reads 'oops'. One color is orange, which is supposed to serve as a warning. Red, means crews will not empty the bins. For Greg Johnson, who calls Jacksonville's Westside home, his preferred method of keeping Jacksonville green is recycling. 

"I like a clean neighborhood and I like to save the environment," Johnson said. "I take out my water bottles and my cardboard." 

Recycling Inspectors are not going to dump everything out the bin to make sure residents are following the rules. Instead, they are opening the bin to take a quick glance. Council Vice President Ronald Salem describes the inspection as more an 'assessment of your recycling'. Salem is spearheading the initiative. He told First Coast News having inspectors could save taxpayers money in the long run. 

"Our contract with the Republic, that handles our recycling, allows us a 10% waste figure. They will transport that waste to a landfill," Salem explained. 

The Council Vice President said the city is charged for anything that is beyond 10%. As of now, the city is at 27%. Salem said the percentage was in the high-teens before COVID. The city, Salem said, is spending about $250,000 to $300,000 a day on waste fees. 

If taxpayers are looking to save money, items such as: plastic bags, grocery bags, saran wrap, sandwich bags, plastic cutlery, hangers and medicine bottles are not accepted for recycling. Click here to review the entire list. 

However, the city accepts the following items: paper (not shredded), news papers, magazines, cardboard (not from a pizza box), aluminum cans, plastics numbers one through three, five or seven. Detergent bottles are allowed. Milk containers, juice boxes are acceptable. Recyclables should be empty, cleaned and dry. If one is not sure if an item needs to be recycled, toss it in the trash. 

Inspectors will be out as early as six in the morning on: Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. 

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