Pinellas County is No 1 in recycling for state of Florida

TBN WEEKLY- Pinellas County continues to be a superior environmental steward by supporting waste reduction and recycling efforts. The county has been recognized for having the highest recycling rate in the state of Florida. The recycling rate for 2015 was 89 percent as released by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on July 1. “Pinellas County celebrates this significant achievement by recognizing our 24 municipal partners, private recyclers and citizens who contributed to the 2015 recycling rate,” said Kelsi Oswald, director of Pinellas County Solid Waste.

Pinellas County Solid Waste submitted its 2015 Solid Waste Management Report to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in April. FDEP calculates a recycling rate, based on a traditional recycling rate such as curbside and residential recycling, and recycling credit for renewable energy created by the combustion of solid waste, such as waste burned at Pinellas County Solid Waste’s Energy-from-Waste facility.   

Based on this calculation, Pinellas County’s recycling rate was 89 percent, which includes traditional curbside and residential recycling rate of 52 percent for 2015. In 2014, Pinellas County’s recycling rate was 63.3 percent. This included a traditional recycling rate of 32.4 percent, plus a combustion credit of 30.9 percent.

Pinellas County’s 2015 recycling rate contributes to state of Florida’s overall 2015 recycling rate, which is 54 percent, with a traditional recycling rate of 42 percent. The state’s next recycling target is 60 percent by January 1, 2017. The state of Florida set a goal to recycle 75 percent of its waste by 2020.

The increased recycling rate for Pinellas County is due in part to the significant increase in reported recycled construction and demolition debris, which includes recycled concrete. The recycling rate is based on reported tonnage. In 2012, FDEP changed its methodology to count processed recycled concrete from roads and bridges.

Additionally, Florida statute allows counties that create renewable energy from solid waste and maintain a program to recycle at least 50 percent of municipal solid waste by means other than creating renewable energy, to count 1.25 tons of recycled material for each megawatt-hour produced. Based on the statute, Pinellas County receives “extra” recycling credit because it recycled at least 50 percent of its waste by means other than renewable energy.

While the recycling goals may be weight-based, Pinellas County is committed to support waste reduction and recycling efforts that lessen the overall environmental impacts of the waste we produce. For example, recycled monofilament fishing line weighs very little, but the impact of removing used monofilament fishing line from local water bodies is significant.

In its continuing efforts to reduce environment impacts and recycle waste, Pinellas County will be holding a free household mobile collection event on Saturday, July 23, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the North County Satellite Site at 29582 U.S. 19 N. in Clearwater where north county residents can safely dispose of unwanted household electronics and chemicals.

For more information on recycling in Pinellas County, visit www.p­inell­ascou­nty.o­rg/re­cycle.

Article published on Monday, July 18, 2016

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