State officials want to nearly triple the amount of recycling by households and businesses, boosting the portion of all garbage sent to recyclers rather than to landfills from about 28 percent now to 75 percent.
From 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday in Orlando City Hall, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection will hold its only public hearing outside of Tallahassee to outline the ways it thinks the state can reach that higher goal. Ideas range from a renewed focus on public education to requiring state agencies to buy goods manufactured from recycled material.
Also to be discussed are several proposals that could fundamentally change the way households regard what is trash and what is a valued recyclable.
1. Bill each household for trash pickup based on the volume or weight of what it throws away.
Federal officials say 7,000 communities in the U.S. are already on some sort of "pay as you throw" plan. The local government provides trash containers of varying sizes with varying fees; essentially, the bigger the bin, the higher the monthly fee for trash collection. A variation of the concept employs collection trucks with the ability to weigh each bin just before it's emptied.
Pro: Motivates households to put cans, bottles, paper and other reusable materials into recycling bins and not in trash cans.
Con: Could get complicated for trash haulers to administer; not always well-received by public, and could lead to illegal dumping in vacant lots.
2. Reward households for recycling by dispensing discounts for local goods and services.
Based on a program started in 2005 by a private organization, RecycleBank, households that recycle receive discounts and coupons for local stores and service providers; the more a home recycles, the more it gets in rewards — up to a monthly or annual cap. Residents can check an online rewards account and receive code numbers to be applied toward discounts at supermarkets, restaurants, pharmacies and other businesses.
Pro: When the city of North Miami started such a program this year, the average household's recycling total quickly jumped from
28 pounds every two weeks to 37 pounds.
Con: Potentially expensive to equip recycling bins with identity chips and collection trucks with scales and computers to record the weight of recyclables at each home.
3. Require stores to charge deposits for beverage bottles and cans.
Stores in Florida would charge a deposit of a nickel or dime for each beverage container made of glass, plastic or metal. About a dozen states already have such "bottle bill" programs.
Pro: Provides strong motivation for recycling beverage containers, including those at home and those tossed along roadsides as litter. Also provides the state with potential cash from deposits that go unredeemed — perhaps as much as $43million per year in Florida — which could be used to fund recycling programs.
Con: Often strongly opposed by grocery chains, which have to provide space and machines to take the bottles back, and by the beverage industry.
More onlineDetails of the state's proposals are at dep.state.fl.us/waste/recyclinggoal75
By Kevin Spear Orlando Sentinel Staff Writer
August 3, 2009
We are all for any change that makes each individual audit daily their personal waste.
Waste has always been like "dust swept under the rug" in modern society where the dump is miles from the person's residence so they really do not consider it's impact. But all one needs to do is travel around Florida and they will see some of the highest points in Florida are land fills easily visible from major interstate highways. Sorta sad really!