Yard waste not picked up for weeks

Some folks forgotten in county collection changeover

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – In rural East Orange County, if their yard waste doesn't get picked up, some homeowners burn it.

"It's gotta go somewhere!" said Collen Dover, who lives off Fort Christmas Road. "We have a lot of yard waste, trees to trim, feed bags."

Otherwise, it piles up. And it had, along Christmas Cemetery Road. Not typical trash-can garbage, just yard waste. And in rural East Orange County, often there's more yard waste than garbage, according to neighbors.

"I feel like the whole street was forgotten about," said Shirley Cannan.

Cannan showed News 6 bags of yard waste that had been sitting in front of her home for almost three weeks.

"Usually I would put out 10 contractor bags a week," said Cannan. "Hay, moss, branches, pine shavings, but see I don't even do that anymore. I spread it around the flowers because it's a hassle trying to get them to pick it up!"

Cannan runs Fallin' Pines Critter Rescue in Christmas and cares for 300 abandoned animals around the clock.

"I got tired of trying to call, I'd be hold for an hour, I have a lot to do," said Cannan. "Yeah I pretty much gave up, that's why I contacted you, I knew you guys would get results."

As soon as Cannan contacted News 6, Erik von Ancken contacted the county. Public Information Officer Doreen Overstreet had dispatched a collection truck to the street within the hour.

"We anticipated it taking 60 to 90 days to iron out all the kinks in the new routes with the new haulers," said Overstreet. "This is obviously one of the kinks we are trying to iron out, but it has been brought to the attention to the haulers. We apologize for the temporary inconvenience this may have caused residents."

On Jan. 1, Orange County switched to a new once-a-week collection system and hired new haulers. Part of that change, Cannan discovered, is that haulers prefer yard waste to be stored in cans, not plastic bags.

A county supervisor who came to Christmas Cemetery Road said machines at the processing plant are unable to chew up the plastic. He asked that residents place yard waste in the old cans in which they used to store garbage (which should have been replaced by 55-gallon rolling cans) to speed up the collection and processing of yard waste.

"I'm feeling good, better than I was an hour and a half ago, because you guys got instant results!" Cannan told von Ancken.

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