Chesapeake residents may soon be without curbside recycling after City Council votes to end contract

TFC Recycling.JPG
Posted at 11:02 AM, Dec 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 17:53:40-05

CHESAPEAKE, Va. – Residents of Chesapeake may soon no longer have the convenience of curbside recycling.

On Tuesday evening, December 14, City Council voted 7-2 to end the city’s contract with Tidewater Fiber for Curbside Recycling, known as TFC Recycling.

The change is set to take effect July 1, 2022.

According to City Council documents, eliminating curbside recycling would save $2 million per year. Chesapeake is working on a plan to increase pay for sworn public safety employees, and these savings would provide part of the funding.

Recently, News 3 reported that residents of Chesapeake were experiencing bulk trash pickup delays caused by ongoing worker shortages.

The delays have caused a trash buildup that has brought unwanted critters to residences.

Related: Chesapeake residents struggling with citywide bulk trash pickup delays

Now, this move is getting mixed reactions. Some residents are upset with the idea of no longer having the convenience of curbside recycling, and others seem to be willing to drop off their recyclables in order to provide funding to increase pay for public safety employees.

During the meeting, City Manager Christopher Price said that almost a quarter of what’s in the blue bins is actually trash. He also talked about how the cost is increasing dramatically and how it’s not sustainable. Price added that Council does not plan to abandon recycling and is considering other alternatives including convenient drop-off sites and subscription, private services.

Michael Benedetto, President of TFC Reycling said about the vote, "We were surprised, to say the least. We know that people are passionate about recycling."

Benedetto added that drop-off sites wouldn't work for residents who don't have vehicles and rely on public transportation.

"Can’t take it on the bus. So, I guess we’d have to put it in the brown trash can," said Jerry Trombley who does not own a car. "That’s about all we can do - can’t just let it stack up."

When asked about individual fees or subscription-based services, Benedetto said that is not an ideal model for TFC which he says has served Chesapeake since 1973.

"A subscription-based service is not effective," said Benedetto. "Imagine if only one person in the neighborhood is recycling and the cost to drive that truck to collect that recyclable material."

Benedetto says he hopes a solution can be made. Meanwhile, he's asking concerned citizens to speak up.

"We believe that there are people whose voices haven’t been heard, and we feel that if they contact City Council and let them know how important recycling is, that perhaps there could be a different outcome."