Trash at Jacksonville’s only landfill is piling up beyond this year’s budgeted amount. The City of Jacksonville’s Public Works department said the curbside recycling pause last year could be partially to blame. City council has two bills on the table to help curb the problem. $3.3 million would be appropriated to handle the extra expenses at the Trail Ridge Land Fill in West Jacksonville.
The City budgeted for 799,000 tons of waste. However, according to the bill, new projections show the landfill will have 916,428 tons for the fiscal year. That’s a difference of more than 117,000 tons. City Council Vice President Ron Salem said the other problem is increased waste as a result of people tossing stuff out during the pandemic. Salem said residents are starting to get back to recycling now months after the City has returned to curbside. He explained about 65% of residents recycle, but he wants to see more.
Another bill on the table, which he sponsored, asks the city to match a $560,000 grant for a recycling education campaign. “I’m hoping, through these efforts that we can extend that life considerably. The less we put in that landfill, the longer it’s going to last,” he said. The life span of the landfill is estimated at 30 years. John Pappas, the director of public works, said if trash continues to pile up at this rate it could force the City to find a new landfill sooner than expected or look into other alternatives to solid waste disposal.