We are proud of the St. Pete League and their success in initiating recycling in their city. This is an issue that their members cared deeply about, was supported by the State League’s position for sustainable public policy, and to their credit, an issue on which they took the lead. Below is an outline of their achievements from Local LWV St Pete Chair Karen Coale.
~ Deirdre Macnab
Initial GOALs: St Petersburg City Council approve both the ordinance to offer universal curbside recycling service to residents and the expenditure of funds to purchase the associated trucks and recycling containers. Goal accomplished with a unanimous vote by City Council on November 24, 2014.
What we did: In February, 2013 our League formed a coalition to gain a broad base of support in the community. Initial members included the Coalition of Neighborhood Associations (CONA), the People’s Budget Review (PBR) and Suncoast Sierra. We adopted the name, The People’s Trash, and included it in our joint messaging. To kick-off this advocacy campaign — we held a press conference on City Hall steps — and had solid press and media coverage. Though they did not join the coalition — the St Petersburg Chamber CEO spoke at the press conference. Our coalition met with the then Mayor and each City Council member and briefed them on the economic benefits of recycling; we spoke often at City Council meetings and continued to meet with City Staff. We kept the issue alive via educational meetings, marching in the St PRIDE parade and educational letters to the editor. Our coverage from the Tampa Bay Times and their supportive editorials was most helpful. We also ensured that recycling became and remained an issue in the Mayoral and City Council races in the fall of 2013. With a new and supportive Mayor and City Council — we continued to advocate, educate and work with St Pete City Staff who had been fighting recycling service for years. Having partners and being persistent paid off.
Implementation GOALS: The trucks and bins have been ordered — but actual implementation begins in June, 2015. The goals now shift to having this program be successful by significantly increasing recyclable waste and significantly reducing garbage/trash. Metrics need to be base-lined, tracked and reported on.
What we are doing: To meet these goals — requires an educated and engaged citizenry. Some City Counicl members and the Mayor agree that this program needs to be marketed — and we are advocating to ensure that there is a credible marketing plan. We are also working with the Department of Sanitation to support their rollout of bins, etc. We plan to educate and engage the membership within The People’s Trash Coalition — which now also includes the St Petersburg Sustainability Council.