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Polk County releases emergency trash collection plan to address ongoing problems

County under local state of emergency over trash collection
Posted at 11:17 AM, Feb 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-22 11:17:59-05

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — Polk County is addressing worsening trash collections issues in the county with a new emergency plan that was announced on Monday.

The county declared a state of emergency over the issues last week, which residents said have been going on for months.

County Commissioners said the missed collections have caused trash to build up on roadways which endangers public health, safety and welfare.

“They’re sitting out there for three to four days in some instances. That happened just this past week where it was out all weekend. And they picked it up on Monday because our trash pick-up day is on Friday, so it’s pretty frustrating,” said Aaron Jones.

As part of its new plan, the county said recycling collection will be suspended temporarily for some people.

Residents who live in unincorporated areas east of U.S. Highway 17, who are serviced by ADS, will see no changes in their current waste collection schedules.

For residents who live in unincorporated areas west of U.S. Highway 17, who are serviced by FCC, there will be temporary collection changes.

Polk County trash map.png

Here are the details of the emergency plan:

  • Recycling collection will be suspended from February 28, 2022 through April 1, 2022.
  • Beginning Monday, Feb. 28, through Friday, April 1, all household waste, bulk waste and recycling should be at the curb by 6 a.m. of your regular garbage collection day. To speed operations, all recycling put at the curb will be collected with regular household waste. Residents may put garbage from over-flowing cans into their recycling bin during this emergency period. This allows FCC to deploy all recycling equipment and staff to support a focused effort to garbage collections.
  • Bulk waste should be put at the curb on your household garbage collection day. The county will temporarily suspend the 72-hour collection process and focus on collecting bulk waste as part of regular garbage routes until further notice. Residents setting out bulk waste should expect collection on their scheduled garbage collection day. The two bulk items per week policy remains in effect.
  • Yard waste collection service remains the same; routine lawn and landscape maintenance items should be curbside on your regularly scheduled yard waste collection day.
  • Recycling collection by FCC will resume on Monday, April 4 on an every-other-week schedule until further notice. Details of that schedule will be communicated to customers prior to April 4, 2022

“This emergency plan should greatly improve the public health and safety of our residents in many neighborhoods in western Polk County caused by the uncollected solid waste,” said County Manager Bill Beasley. “I’m encouraged by the cooperation that we are receiving from our hauler FCC, and our ability to develop this short-term emergency plan together so that we can resume our regular service schedules as quickly as possible.”

The county said the emergency plan has been effective for other local governments across the country that have put service changes in place due to challenges caused by the pandemic.