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Okaloosa Co. Commissioners vote to end recycling pilot program

SHALIMAR, Fla. -- Waste Management is removing recycling cans from homes throughout Shalimar.

That's after Okaloosa County Commissioners voted to end a pilot program that exchanged small recycle bins for one large can.

It was supposed to save the county nearly $800,000 a year.  But the savings didn't add up.

Since Thursday, Waste Management has picked up more than 1,000 of the recycling cans. The residents of Shalimar Point say they're ready to see the program come back.

"They took my yellow can and we wondered what happened," said Bill Dukes.

Okaloosa County Commissioners had 2-options charge customers a dollar and 90 cents per home per month or pick up the $130,000 annual tab themselves.

They decided to end the pilot program.

"I think it's the worst decision commissioners have made. I really feel bad for older seniors. They're not going to recycle. They're going to put their trash into their trash cans because they're not going to be able to lift it and carry it out," said Mike Codogan.

Many residents say the larger cans made it easier to recycle their trash.

"It helps you do it. You know you can put more stuff in there and we actually created a garbage can inside to use for that purpose," said Duke.

"We thought it was the best thing since cheese cake," said Codogan.

They say smaller recycling bins make it harder to do the right thing.

"It's going to be tough. You can't put out three or four recycling bins," said Codogan.

"When you put it out on the street, sometimes I'd walk out in the morning and there would be stuff strewn all over the place either by the wind or a critter," said Susan Halter.

Some neighbors said they'd pay extra for the service.

"My wife even said if I had to pay two bucks more a week I'd rather do that," said Codogan.

Okaloosa County officials say they're willing to reevaluate the program in 2016.