City of Portsmouth collects recyclables with trash without telling residents

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - The contract that the city of Portsmouth had with its recycling company ended at the beginning of November, which means the items residents have been sorting out have been going to the same location as the trash.

“I drag this thing out every week and I expect what goes in it to be taken care of properly,” Jonathan Powers said.

Jonathan Powers has been a resident of Portsmouth for 44 years.

He says it was the city's job to let residents know if they no longer had a contract with the recycle company, especially when he pays a monthly waste management fee.

“I think they should hurry up and get a new contract that’s what I would like to see and you know be honest about it,” Powers said.

Powers, like other residents, weren’t made aware the city has been taking the trash and recycled items to the Wheelabrator Technologies plant.

The plant burns waste to create energy that’s then used at Norfolk Naval Shipyard.

“We have been recycling, we are still recycling. We are a very green city. None of our garbage goes into a land fill,” Mayor John Rowe said.

Major John Rowe says the city has sent waste to the plant since 1988. If the plant couldn’t burn waste it would burn fossil fuels to create the energy, which is harmful to the environment.

He said residents have nothing to worry about, this is temporary until a new bid is accepted.

“The paper, plastic and glass is still being taken to the power plant and it’s still being recycled, but it’s being recycled into energy,” he said.

Mayor Rowe said the city is currently looking at several bids and it could take a few more weeks before one is chosen.