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Thinking Big

Florida considers how to reach ambitious recycling goal.

When it comes to increasing its recycling rate, the state of Florida is aiming high. Very high.

In early January, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) released its recommendations on how the state can achieve a 75 percent recycling rate by 2020. The department was required to produce its report by the state Energy, Climate Change and Economic Security Act of 2008, which formally established the recycling goal.

According to DEP, only 28 percent of the 32 million tons of municipal solid waste that is generated in the state each year is currently recycled.

“The 75 percent recycling goal is the highest of any state,” said DEP Secretary Michael W. Sole in a press release. “It will be a challenge to achieve, but it can be reached through partnerships among state government, local governments, trade organizations, schools, businesses and industries as well as the people of Florida.”

Some of the recommendations include:

  • Require state agencies to achieve a 75 percent recycling rate.

  • Apply the goal to counties that have more than 100,000 residents and cities with more than 50,000 residents.

  • Direct school districts to implement recycling programs.

  • Require recycling at apartment and condominium complexes, and hospitals.

  • Create a grant or loan program to help local governments attain a 75 percent recycling rate in their areas.

  • Mandate that all unlined construction and demolition debris disposal sites also contain a materials recovery facility.

The Florida Legislature will consider these recommendations during its 2010 session.

To view the report, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/waste/recyclinggoal75. According to DEP, “the information and recommendations in the report were developed based on broad research and [the] contributions of more than 500 stakeholders who participated in four public workshops.” Some of the recommendations also were obtained through e-mails and the department's Web forum, DEP says.

In other recycling news:

  • California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has appointed Margo Reid Brown to be the chief deputy director and acting director of the state's Department of Resources, Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle).

    CalRecycle was formed earlier this year when the California Integrated Waste Management Board and the California Department of Conservation's Recycling Division were merged. Brown had served as the chair of the Integrated Waste Management Board since 2006, and was Schwarzenegger's director of scheduling from 2004 to 2006.

    "Margo has been a valued member of my administration, and she has the experience in waste management necessary to direct this new department to make better use of available resources to control waste, promote recycling and protect the environment to more effectively serve the people of California," Schwarzenegger said in the announcement of Brown's appointment.

    "It is an honor to continue serving the governor and the people of our great state," said Brown in a statement. "I am excited to get to work to streamline and increase efficiency in our waste disposal and recycling efforts so that we can better serve Californians and our environment."

    Brown's appointment does not require confirmation by the California Senate.

  • Precision Recycling Industries has opened a glass recycling plant in Chester, Va. The facility will have the capacity to recycle 50,000 tons of glass each year.

    The facility will recycle glass bottles and other products collected through curbside collection programs and drop-off centers. The recycled glass will be used in items such as abrasives, architectural products and filtration systems."

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