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Landscaping Debris Not Collected?

Recently a lot of residents have complained that the county’s waste collection contractor isn’t picking up their landscaping debris.

What’s causing all the misses?

Odds are, if you’ve been skipped, either you or the waste collector isn’t following the rules.

Keep in mind, don’t confuse the community’s regular landscaping debris collection with their special Hurricane Irma collection. the county’s recent hurricane storm debris collection simply allowed you to pile landscaping debris along the right of way. As the November WOW went to print, the county had still only collected 50 percent of Westchase’s landscaping debris from Hurricane Irma. That effort, according to the county, will continue, as a special collection, through mid-November. For that collection, you can simply pile landscaping debris on the right-of-way away from trees and utility poles. That debris will be picked up by a special truck with a grabbing hand.

That’s not how the county’s regular weekly landscaping debris collection works, which still relies on actual humans jumping off the backs of trucks. You can’t just leave it in a messy pile by the curb. If you do, they’ll drive by it.

In fairness, part of the problem with misses lies with the waste collector. Residents report the collector regularly drives by plastic garbage bags filled with landscaping debris. Under county rules, they should be picking these up.

While the company doing collections (in Westchase it is Republic Services) does make mistakes, you can minimize your chance of being skipped by following these guidelines:

First, debris cannot be just piled curbside like the hurricane debris was. While the county says they’ll take bundled or neatly stacked debris this way, the judgment of what is “neatly stacked” is very subjective and leaves lots of residents looking at an uncollected pile all week. To ensure collection, place all landscaping debris in a box, trash can, plastic bag (although they tear easier, clear bags may better as collectors can see the contents) or plastic container. Just don’t use the gray or blue official bins for garbage and recycling

Second, your container may be too heavy. The weekly limit is two cubic yards total. Each container also must weigh less than 50 pounds.

Here are the guidelines for curbside pickup:

• Weekly set-out limit is two cubic yards or less (approximately twelve 30-gallon containers).
• Use your own cans, boxes, bags other containers to store your yard waste.
• Each container cannot exceed 50 pounds.
• Limbs and branches must be less than 4 feet long and 6 inches in diameter.
• Yard waste must be bundled, neatly stacked, or placed in a container or bag.
• Yard waste must be placed within 10 feet of the curb.

Republic Services, Westchase’s waste collection company, can be reached at (813) 265-0292 or via email at republicservicesCSR@repsrv.com. If they are repeatedly skipping the collection of your bagged debris, you can email Hillsborough County Solid Waste Division Director Kim Byer at byerk@hillsboroughcounty.org and she’ll order the crew to return and collect what they missed.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

Note: The original version of this article has been edited to correct the spelling of Kim Byer's last name and to properly identify her position as a director rather than manager. WOW regrets the errors.

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