ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Pinellas County demolition contractors say a proposed St. Petersburg law to make them recycle construction debris is costly, time consuming, and may force some of them out of business.
Assistant City Attorney Erica Smith said, in a memo to the St. Petersburg City Council, the new ordinance, "seeks to preserve the City's limited landfill space by requiring the recycling of demolition debris."
St. Petersburg does not have a mandatory household recycling program for items like aluminum, plastic, glass and newspaper. Roughly 6,000 households take part in the voluntary program, according to City Council Member Herb Polson.
Polson supports the new construction recycling program, saying, "It just makes sense. You know we're trying to be green."
Contractor Mike Dever says he supports household recycling, but says recycling demolition debris will be expensive and time consuming. "It's ridiculous," said Dever. "They're getting carried away, making us separate everything. It would be much easier to throw it all away."
In south St. Petersburg, the owner of a family-owned demolition business watched his son work a crane to demolish a home. He did not want his name or company revealed because he says he is worried about the new law. "It could put us out of business," he said. "We'd be bidding against large companies who have recycling facilities. How do you compete?"
City Councilman Jeff Danner, a former contractor, agrees. "We have do do something. But make sure it's not on the backs of the small contractor," said Danner.
The city council will discuss the proposed law at Thursday's city council meeting.
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