Sarasota County 75% Recycling/Waste Reduction Goal Comments
January 6, 2009
• HB 7135, Section 403.7032 mandates that the FDEP develop a plan by 2010 that addresses meeting a goal “By the year 2020…to reduce the amount of recyclable solid waste disposed of in waste management facilities….by a statewide aggregate average of at least 75 percent.”

• This goal is a 75% reduction in recyclable material being landfilled. FDEP discussions to date have been in reference to a 75% recycling rate. These metrics (75% landfill reduction and 75% recycling rate) are not equivalent and need to be clarified. Sarasota County believes that establishing a goal as written in the Bill (i.e. 75% reduction in landfill) can be more accurately and precisely measured than the recycling rate metric.

• Sarasota County estimates a significant loss of solid waste revenues if 75% of recyclable material is diverted from the landfill. This loss of revenue will impact local governments’ ability to fund programs and service debts and bonds. Some thought needs to be given in terms of how these significant infrastructure costs can be covered while still meeting the recycling goals.

• If the goal is a 75% recycling rate, the FDEP needs to revise the definition of Recovered Materials to be more inclusive. Additionally, the FDEP will need to improve the current system to ensure material is being accurately credited to the appropriate county of origin and to have rules in place that require businesses that ship material out-of-state for processing are reporting those tonnages.

• Statewide, socio-economical, seasonal, and demographical representative waste audits will need to be funded initially and periodically in order to establish verifiable baselines and progress toward the goal.

• Funding and incentives will be needed to aid in economic development of recyclable material markets. Currently, the hauling, processing and end markets for organics (i.e. food waste) and some construction & demolition materials are not cost effectively available in our region.

• Consider implementing State-mandated measures that require or encourage manufacturers to take back product at end of the product’s life.