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2017 update on the Florida recycling initiative

Written by: Alexa Stone


Nine years ago, the Florida Legislature resolved to scale back the mountains of waste materials that are piled up or burned each year by cities, companies, and individuals. The legislature enacted an ambitious goal that by 2020, 75% of waste would be recycled or used in producing renewable energy.

The table on the right, drawn from Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) data, shows we’re on our way. The DEP set 50% as the target recycling rate for 2014. They report that has been achieved statewide. In fact, these figures show Florida’s recycling rate in 2016 was 56%. Thirteen counties are leading the way with 2016 recycling rates reaching and exceeding the 60% Interim Recycling Goal. We see that Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties had already reached 82%!

With just three years to go, every county can still achieve the statewide goal of 75%. Help is available, including a great resource from the DEP. They provide Florida’s Recycling Business Assistance Center (RBAC) to assist with developing markets for recyclable materials. The RBAC offers assistance to recycling businesses at all levels of the supply chain, as well as support for potential partners, the Legislature, and the public.

* as of January 2017. Data provided by the Florida DEP.