CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Leaders of Chesapeake Recycles, a citizen led group, tell 10 On Your Side they are just trying to do right by the environment. They believe the city can play a key role in making it easier and more efficient for people in the city to do their part, but they believe they city is making it more difficult.

Lacy Shirey, co-founder of Chesapeake Recycles, said they started up the group after the city canceled curbside recycling pick-up in 2022. Now, anyone in the city who wants to recycle has to take their bins to designated sites and sort it themselves.

Even with this simpler method, the group got video of trucks dumping sorted recycling in the same trucks. They also spoke about putting GPS trackers in recycling bins, watching those trackers go to the landfill instead of the recycling facility.

“We don’t want to see that here in Chesapeake,” Shirey said. “We want to do what’s right by our citizens, we want to do what’s right for the environment.”

“I think a lot of misinformation is out there and that’s unfortunate, but again, I can appreciate their desire,” Chesapeake Mayor Rick West said.

West believes those trackers were taken to landfills because they were sorted as non-recyclable. He added, they are looking into using a one-bin pickup system. But members of Chesapeake Recycles worry about that system failing in other communities, costing a lot of money to fix.

West says bringing back curbside pickup would cost around $5 million and would cause budget cuts to other departments. Shirey believe the city can afford it. They cite the 2023 city financial statement showing roughly $160 million in excess funds.

Chesapeake Recycling gathered more than 600 petition signatures along with a large amount of comments for city leaders. Mayor West said he wants to find a solution that works for the city while being cost effective.

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