[quote=Timbo][quote=gassy one][quote=scwoodchuck]Recycling is in trouble — and it might be your fault
Paul Singer | USA TODAY
Updated 2:34 p.m. ET April 28, 2017
[/quote I don't care about your crap BIMBO! If there was money to be made it wouldn't be going into landfills.With natural gas prices so low it is cheaper to use virgin plastic instead of recyclable plastic!
lummeting worldwide prices for recycled aluminum, glass, paper and plastics have some Central Florida cities down in the dumps about recycling.
Orange County, which had never charged to process municipal recyclables, informed cities they would have to pay a $42-per-ton fee as of July 1.
If that service price had been in effect during the past 12 months, Orange County’s cities would have been forced to fork over about $670,000 to recycle plastic water bottles, soda cans, cardboard boxes and old newspapers their haulers brought to the county-owned Recycling Materials Processing Facility near the landfill.
Cities leaders are balking about the fee.
Tumbling prices for recyclables - like these bales of aluminum cans at Orange County's material proc
Tumbling prices for recyclables - like these bales of aluminum cans at Orange County's material processing center in east Orange - are making recycling less profitable. (George Skene / Orlando Sentinel)
“All we’ve heard up until recently is recycle, recycle, recycle because it was good for the environment, it was good for the future of our society,” said Joe Kilsheimer, mayor of Apopka, Orange County’s second-largest city after Orlando.
Apopka would have paid about $63,000 if the new fee had been in effect last year.
The fee would have cost Orlando about $364,000 last year, city spokeswoman Cassandra Lafser said.
But Orlando leaders believe they can absorb the new cost.
“Over the last few years, we’ve implemented a lot of collection efficiency and cost-saving measures,” Lafser said, citing the city’s use of natural gas-powered trucks, which has helped the city save money on fuel.
More people are recycling, but there's less demand for recyclable materials like these bales of plas
More people are recycling, but there's less demand for recyclable materials like these bales of plastic containers at a materials processing center in Orange County. (George Skene / Orlando Sentinel)
Seminole and Lake counties are watching the recycling issue in Orange closely, though both are locked into longer-term pacts with haulers required to shoulder cost increases for hauling and processing materials.
“Recycling is not the panacea we thought it was five or so years ago, though it’s still a good thing,” said Jim Stivender, Lake County Public Works director.
For most cities in Orange, it would be cheaper to pitch those aluminum beer cans, cardboard boxes and plastic water bottles into the garbage rather than a recycling bin.
The county charges $33.60 a ton to bury municipal waste at the landfill on Young Pine Road.
Recycling is not the panacea we thought it was five or so years ago, though it's still a good thing. — Jim Stivender, director, Lake County Public Works
“We’re looking at other options, private companies and such,” said Winter Garden City Manager Mike Bollhoefer.
Recycling participation grew in the west Orange city from 1,694 tons in 2014 to 2,093 tons in 2016, a 23 percent increase.
Apopka also will discuss its options during its upcoming budget workshops, Kilsheimer said.
Winter Park plans to review how it disposes of 2,000 tons of recyclable materials it collects annually. With the new fee, a similar haul will cost about $90,000 next year, spokesman Craig O’Neil said.
“This is the [economic] reality of recycling now — and not just here, but all across the country,” said Jim Becker, manager of Orange County’s solid waste division. “Commodity values are in decline and they’re at the lowest level they’ve been in many years. Unless they bounce back, we’re going to be paying to recycle.”
Becker said contractors who sort recyclables and sell the bundled commodities are charging for those services now because they can’t depend on selling recyclables to cover operating costs.
Orange County ranks among the top recycling counties in Florida, according to 2016 statistics compil
Orange County ranks among the top recycling counties in Florida, according to 2016 statistics compiled by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. (George Skene / Orlando Sentinel)
Waste haulers collected 10,249 tons of recyclable material from customers in unincorporated Orange County during the 12 months that ended June 30. Becker said he did not envision an increase in solid waste fees for residential customers in unincorporated Orange.
He said he understood if cities looked for another place to take their recyclables, noting they are not obligated to bring materials to the county’s recycling center.
“If you can find a better deal, more power to you,” he said of cities.
Heavy equipment packs down garbage at the Orange County Landfill.
Heavy equipment packs down garbage at the Orange County Landfill. (George Skene / Orlando Sentinel)
A state law, adopted in 2008, set a goal of having 75 percent of the state’s waste stream recycled by the year 2020.
Statistics posted Friday by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection showed that Orange County recycled 72 percent of its waste in 2016, up from 52 percent in 2015. The state’s recycling rate in 2016 was 56 percent.
Becker said demand for recyclable material has dropped, particularly in China, which had long been a big consumer of the stuff Americans threw out. China tightened its standards a few years ago and now demands “cleaner” recyclable materials.
Despite the financial concerns, local governments ought to stay committed to recycling, said Jason Hale, a spokesman for the Recycling Partnership, a non-profit advocacy group.
“The simple act of responsibly handling bottles, cans, containers and paper directly addresses climate change, delivering measurable reductions in greenhouse gases and water use,” he said. “Moreover, recycling creates substantially more jobs than disposal. Lastly — and arguably most importantly — residents want the ability to conveniently recycle, and strong local recycling programs help communities thrive.”
Stephen Hudak can be reached at 407-650-6361, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Bearlando.
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