DEP Joins Lee County to Celebrate 20 Years of Sustainable Waste Management

Oct. 16, 2014

~Cutting-edge Waste-to-Energy facility marks two decades of excellence~

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection joins Lee County in the 20th-anniversary celebration of its Waste-to-Energy plant. The celebration, which took place Saturday at the Solid Waste Resource Recovery (WTE) Facility, highlighted Lee County’s creation of one of the country’s most successful and sustainable recycling and solid waste management systems. DEP’s South District Director Jon Iglehart represented DEP at the celebration.

Operation at the WTE facility began in 1994. The original resource recovery facility housed two generators capable of creating energy from household waste. The plant was expanded with the addition of a third generator in 2007. As a result of the expansion, the plant became the first waste-to-energy facility in the United States to generate carbon credits based on its emissions reductions in 2010.

The plant has received several awards and accolades the past 20 years. DEP honored the county facility in 1996 with the prestigious Environmental Citizen of the Year Award. In 2000 and 2008 the county was recognized by DEP for having the highest recycling rate in the state. In 2011, the WTE facility was given the Solid Waste Association of North America Gold Award for having the best solid waste management system in the nation.

“Lee County is a great example for the rest of the state on how to efficiently and effectively manage solid waste in an environmentally responsible way,” Iglehart said. “Congratulations on 20 years of success and best wishes on at least 20 more.”

The WTE plant processes approximately 1,800 tons of waste per day, servicing the entirety of Lee and Hendry counties. The waste is processed through several furnaces, which convert the waste to ash at nearly 10 percent of the original size. The energy created by this process is transferred to steam generators which produce 57 megawatts per day – enough to power 40,000 homes. The plant also extracts metals from the ash to be recycled, and is equipped with a carbon capture system, which eliminates mercury from the air. In the end the ash is the only solid material placed in a landfill. The air the plant emits into the atmosphere is essentially clean, hot air.

For more information on Lee County Solid Waste Management, click here.

For more information on recycling in Florida, click here.

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