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Recycling gains momentum

A number of new recycling initiatives and trash pickup changes that have taken effect recently are going well, Suffolk Public Works director Eric Nielsen reported at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.

Also at the meeting, two conditional use permits were approved for an auto repair business and a private school.

TFC Recycling, a Chesapeake-based company, recently started servicing recycling drop-off centers in Suffolk, as well as providing curbside service for paid subscribers and bins at TGIF concert events.

The drop-off centers, located at 13 spots throughout the city, have been doing exceptionally well, Nielsen said. The most-used center is the one at Sleepy Hole Park, where five Dumpster-like containers are emptied twice a week.

TFC is monitoring the containers three times a week to ensure they do not overflow, Nielsen added.

“We’re working with TFC to optimize the number of containers,” he said.

As part of the curbside program, more than 1,000 households received blue bins from TFC Recycling this month, and regular pickups started this week. Mayor Linda T. Johnson reported that her family has been using the recycling service, noting that they used to fill two trashcans each week.

“This week, we will have one half of one bin full,” she said, while her recycling bin is completely full.

Nielsen also reported that the change to a four-day week for trash pickup has caused some confusion, especially because the switch happened on a holiday week.

“That caused a problem,” Nielsen said. “We’re working hard to get the word out to put your trash out on the normal day.”

The four-day week for trash pickup was instituted to save about $200,000.

In other business at the Council meeting, two after-the-fact conditional use permits were approved with little discussion.

The first allows Blanchard’s Suffolk Tire & Auto to continue operating in the building at 321 W. Washington St., where it expanded its business some time ago without first obtaining a conditional use permit.

The other allows First Baptist Christian School to continue holding classes at the Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church location at 3488 Godwin Blvd. In 2008, the school began holding classes at the church, but it did not first get a conditional use permit to hold classroom instruction in the church building.