Recycling crossroads

I’ve been told by more than one person that recycling is a real challenge in Tampa Bay.

But until I looked closely at some numbers, I had no idea how true it was for the state of Florida as well.

In fact, since 2008, Florida was unable to meet the 30 percent recycling goal set for nationally on a consistent basis.

30 PERCENT?! The new Energy Bill sets a goal of 75 percent, one Florida will never meet unless new public policies force a shift in how residents view recycling and waste.

Recently, Kessler Consulting, Inc. (KCI), a Tampa-based solid waste consulting firm, developed a strategy identities other states’ successful recycling programs and their potential applicability in Florida.

The study found that states with the most effective recycling programs utilize a variety of tools such as disposal bans, fees on waste (using the revenue to support recycling) and product stewardship. Personally, I’d like to see a national ban on water bottles and plastic bags.

“(Goals) must be backed by public policy that spurs recycling and establishes consequences for not achieving the goal,” states Mitch Kessler, President of KCI. “Reaching 75% recycling will require a massive effort and significant adjustments in how we manage solid waste.”

KCI has been a leader in the state’s solid waste industry for the past 22 years and has worked with more than 70 Florida communities. The stategy was funded through a grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to the City of Tallahassee. An Executive Summary of the Roadmap is available electronically by request.

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