Annual Solid Waste Recycling Report Shows Recycling Rate Remained Steady in 2011

TALLAHASSEE – Updated recycling data released today by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection shows that 23 counties reported a 30 percent or higher recycling rate and Florida has maintained at least a 30 percent recycling rate for a second consecutive year. The data shows that nine counties had a recycling rate of 40 percent or more.

Recycling rates are calculated by dividing the total weight of recycled municipal solid waste by the total weight of municipal solid waste. The 2011 data is the most up to date. Under previous statute, counties had until November to report the previous year’s data. Under new statutory deadlines, counties must report data by April 1 each year. After review, the Department anticipates having the 2012 data available this July.

“Florida is making strides to reach the 2020 recycling goal of 75 percent,” said Jorge Caspary, Director of DEP’s Division of Waste Management. “However, Florida’s businesses must become more involved in recycling in order for us to achieve success.”

In November, the Department expanded its Recycling Recognition Program to encourage the commercial sector, schools, public groups and residents not only to recycle more, but also to increase reporting. The Department has an easy tool for companies to track and compare its recycling efforts to that of other businesses — the Florida DEP Business Recycling Tracking Tool. Through the website, which includes free registration, companies can track different types of recycling efforts and produce reports on how those efforts are helping to shrink their carbon footprint. The tracking will help the Department to recognize companies that are doing more to go green.

Recycling provides a direct cost savings to most businesses because the more that is recycled means less waste generated and thus there are lower operating cost for waste management. Residents have motivation to recycle because it allows for reuse of household products and also cuts down on the amount and cost of waste sent to local landfills. The Department encourages residents to recycle at home and find out what recycling efforts are underway at their local schools, their workplace and their community groups. County recycling coordinators can help businesses, institutions and community groups create or improve their recycling efforts.

According to the updated report, Alachua County remains No. 1 in the state for recycling for the second year in a row. Gilchrist County was the most improved county in Florida, increasing its recycling rate from 17 percent in 2010 to 30 percent in 2011.

The top 10 counties based on recycling rate are:

  1. Alachua County – 50 percent
  2. Lee County – 45 percent
  3. Brevard County – 45 percent
  4. Marion County – 45 percent
  5. Escambia County – 43 percent
  6. Martin County – 42 percent
  7. Sarasota County – 42 percent
  8. Leon County – 41 percent
  9. Collier County – 40 percecnt
  10. Madison County – 39 percent

In 2008, the Florida Legislature enacted Florida Statute 403.7032, which established a new statewide recycling goal of 75 percent to be achieved by 2020. Recycling rates have been climbing slowly since 2006. These positive trends are the result of increased awareness by the public and businesses of the benefits of recycling. Recycling materials cuts down on landfill waste, sparks economic activity and reuses products that otherwise would become trash.

To see the complete 2011 Solid Waste Management Report visit http://www.dep.state.fl.us/waste/categories/recycling/SWreportdata/11_data.htm

For more information about the Florida DEP Recycling Recognition Program visit http://www.dep.state.fl.us/waste/categories/recycling/pages/recognition.htm

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