By Jacqueline Quynh

PEMBROKE PINES (CBSMiami) – Pembroke Pines is the latest city to stop traditional recycling, leaving some questioning what can be done now.

“Ever since I was a boy, growing up here in Broward County, we started recycling newspapers,” said city resident Scott Barnett.

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The change began on January 2nd. The city sent out a warning about the change, saying in part there was no demand for recycling materials, the high rate of contamination, service costs would go up if they had to bring it to a new facility, and there may be no added environmental benefits.

“It doesn’t seem like burning our trash is going to help solve the problem,” Rebecca Barnes said.

The current solution is to co-mingle all the trash, so all of it gets incinerated, to convert waste to energy. Barnes said she would rather pay more to have her recyclables taken away.

“They want this service but they don’t want to pay more, now the recyclable is a commodity that needs to be done one way or another, it has to be taken and sold or it has to be incinerated,” Mayor Frank Ortis said.

Ortis thinks people would have been more upset if the price had gone up and said incineration is the best option, at least right now. The city is not alone in figuring out what to do next.

“What we’re trying to do is have all the cities take it to the county and then build a building and use the facility there,” he explained.

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Ortis says all 31 municipalities in Broward County are working to have a processing facility in potentially eight months. But it seemed the decision to end traditional recycling happened suddenly.

“Right now we haven’t been working on it for years, because we’ve been recycling. We had the contracts with Reuters up until January of this year,” he said.

Barnett is fed up and he thinks there should have been more input and more planning ahead of time.

“There are ways to recycle. What we need to do is invest in a smart way to make recycling happen,” he said.

Some cities now offer drop-off locations, but it’s not quite as convenient as the single stream through the recycling blue bin.

“I see some of my neighbors putting their blue bins out for bulk trash,” Barnes said.

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Pembroke Pines is still working on a deal that would potentially allow people to use the blue bins for overflow.

Jacqueline Quynh