Residents Defiant And Concerned In Face Of Cardboard Box Recycling Fines

On March 1st, the City’s cardboard box recycling fines ordinance took effect. However, this has angered residents who are decidedly defiant.

Gables Insider drove through the North Gables during trash day and found that nearly 80% of trash pits had cardboard boxes in them. (see gallery below).

Following our recent articles on the cardboard box recycling fines, residents voiced concerns they have with the ordinance.

“In many occasions I have woken up to find boxes, lumber, debris etc… that was not left there by neither myself or neighbor. We should not be held accountable for trash left behind from drive by looters. That should be addressed by the city, before fining residents that already pay high taxes.” commented Dr. Galguera, E on Gables Insider.

“Good Morning. I ask how you will determine which homeowner placed the boxes in the trash pits? Most trash pits are located between properties or on property lines. Also, someone may toss a box on a shared pit but none of the neighbors / homeowners associated with the pit actually placed the box. This appears to be a significant issue.” commented Francisco Oliva on Gables Insider.

“This is ridiculous. you expecting us to now work to break down boxes,which being elderly is difficult and we receive many with online transactions. But we use the boxes to place either heavier trash or irregular trash on the swale. Increase the burden on the citizens! And add a huge fine to boot! More than upset at how the city disregards us …where is our representation?” commented A. Perez on Gables Insider.

“We received a notice three weeks ago after neighbors left boxes on the trash pit. The notice stated that cardboard boxes cannot be placed into the trash pit. At least 3 other home owners use the pit in front of our property. I immediately called the person that left the notice to tell him this information. He stated that he also notified the neighbors. The very next week, more boxes were in the pit. It won’t take long until the City realizes that it is absolutely impossible to fine the correct perpetrator. This was not a well thought out policy or procedure. If our property is fined, we will fill in the trash pit permanently and use a different method to dispose of yard waste,” commented Wesley on Gables Insider.

Gables Insider is working to confirm if any fines have been levied by the City.

Coral Gables residents pay an annual garbage fee at a discounted rate of $762, if paid in full, or $894 if rolled into their taxes.

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12 thoughts on “Residents Defiant And Concerned In Face Of Cardboard Box Recycling Fines

  1. I personally am happy that the cardboard is being recycled by the city. I want to do everything possible environmentally to make a difference in our world especially in light of climate change. Additionally, the cardboard in the swale pits is very unsightly.

    Given that trees being cut down is essential to make our cardboard, please remember that our trees give us oxygen making our air cleaner by removing particles that are harmful for us. They are often referred to as “lungs of the planet” because of the oxygen they give us and other living things. Trees make our city cooler, helps filter and clean the water, provides comfort and sense of calm to us, controls the temperature and is great for wildlife habitat.

    One article I looked at said 27,000 trees are cut down each day only for toilet paper, no date given in that article. Another article indicated that over 100 million trees are cut down each year to supply paper and cardboard. Another said 400 plus million trees are cut down each year to do the same. It may be a difference in terms of date of the article published. That is a minimum of 2.3 trees a year per person at the very least.
    I believe if the city addresses the financial benefits that recycling brings to all of us plus the environmental benefits that it may be more acceptable to others. It does take a little bit more time to fold the boxes but ask yourself if the impact in our world is worth that time. It is for me.

  2. memo to ms. maria. yes it’s true that upon completing their route. the crew is finished for the day. this is also true for the private waste industry. it’s called the “task method”

    the “recyclables”, in recent years, has been sent to china [it used to be japan until a few years ago], resulting in a profit for the cities and private waste industry. i believe it was a few years ago that chinese firms declared they would no longer accept “contaminated” material, as it was too costly for them to process.
    they’re “big time” now, and tell us what we can do with our waste materials.

  3. new people [including new city employees] call them “pits” in reality, they were originally “trash piles”. the city changed their collection method to include their “clam buckets”, which dug out the soil to create “pits”.

    incidentally, the garbage fee is heavily subsidized, meaning, we do not fully pay the actual cost for our refuse collection and disposal.

    grew up and been in the gables since 1952.

  4. It is ridiculous to ask homeowners to flatten all boxes. There is machinery that will do this. With the large volume of online shopping that takes place these days, boxes are an integral part of our every day trash. The city must accommodate for this fact, and NOT put an additional burden on its taxpayers. In addition to this being an unfair request (consider elderly people or persons with special needs who will find this very difficult to do), how can this silly policy be enforced anyway? How will you prove who left the box in the trash pile? Please don’t waste any more of your time or our taxpayer dollars on this absurdity.

  5. I must say that most of you are on the right track, but I also have some questions:
    how difficult would it be for our sanitation workers to flatten the cardboard boxes? How much time would it add to their work day? Is it true that once they finish their route they are done for the day? Why do commissioners keep getting told that it is O.K for the paper and cardboard to get wet because they have to get wet anyway during the recycling process (as they were told by the people in charge at the last commission meeting)? Why is there such resistance to providing larger/covered bins to keep the material dry? Did anyone in the City administration watch the news report on channel 10 recently quoting WM that the newspaper and cardboard needs to be clean and dry?
    What is going on????? We need answers to these and many other questions!!!!

  6. Instead of fining residents that leave boxes in their trash pits why not incentivize them by rewarding those that do fold up their boxes and recycle them? Maybe discounted garbage fees? A property tax credit? Similar to what some grocers do for those that bring their own bag to the store.

    Additionally, most residents have had issues with garbage and recycling collection lately. When I had issues it was claimed that the department was understaffed. I’ve had missed pickups, partial pick ups, recycling all over my drive way and street, etc. These issues should be of a higher priority than creating a program that will be difficult, if not impossible, to enforce without knowing who placed something into a shared trash pit, many of which are on a property line and shared by multiple households.

    Is this initiative really about recycling, keeping the city beautiful, or generating revenue and securing/creating jobs within the city?

  7. The last few weeks we have left our “flattened” boxes next to our recycle bins and have found that only the dry one are taken. The City has requested that all boxes (dry or wet, not soiled) should be left for pick up. Well, they haven’t been taking our wet ones. Making this yet another task for us to take care of. Where do we put these? If we throw them in the swale because the Recycling team doesn’t pick it up do we get fined?
    Please figure out all these issues before you start fining Residents.

  8. I find this to an absurd request for citizens of Coral Gables to comply with. We already pay a lot of taxes for garbage and recycling. The City Garbage department should handle the deconstruction of boxes, as done before.
    On another note, the last few weeks we have left our “flattened” boxes next to our recycle bins and have found that only the dry one are taken. The City has requested that all boxes (dry or wet, not soiled) should be left for pick up. Well, they haven’t been taking our wet ones. Making this yet another task for us to take care of. Where do we put these? If we throw them in the swale because the Recycling team doesn’t pick it up do we get fined?
    Please figure out all these issues before you start fining Residents. ThNk you!

  9. My trash, recycling and garbage already get missed periodically. We pay for a service we don’t get and now we’re asked to breakdown boxes for who’s benefit? The sanitation can’t break down the large boxes? Why not? Has anyone asked these questions?

    I shop online and on Amazon for convenience. Now we’re inconvenienced by performing a service that has always been included in our fees. Unacceptable and I want to know who came up with this idea instead of enforcing the existing code of throwing trash before your trash pick up day. By the way most recycling gets thrown away as garbage anyways let’s not kid ourselves. So angry over this.

  10. A $500 fine??? You are only fined $150 for running a red light!!!
    Very difficult for older folks to break down boxes.
    Another unfunded mandate from City Hall nanny state.
    Most cities are simply doing away with their recycling.

  11. Completely agree with the above comment! What’s the big deal of folding boxes? People need to grow up! Not everyone is getting their pits filled with other people’s boxes, so on many occasions this seems like an excuse. We should all follow the policy not just a few.

  12. I agree that something needs to be done about the many cardboard boxes on our streets. It looks disgusting. It is not that difficult to break up the boxes and place them in the recycling bin. (Box cutter) I think it’s each homeowners responsibility to keep his/her trash pits clear of all boxes. We’ve had more than a year to make these changes. Its not possible that ALL trash pits are put there by drive bys. Let’s work together to keep Coral Gables beautiful!

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