- Written by TOM DEVERIN
RECYCLING IN CEDAR KEY
THEN AND NOW
December 11, 2014
The Recycle Trailer
Remember when there was a recycle trailer parked at the old Sun Dance by # 3 bridge? That was in 2008 and at that time the recycle trailer would get filled up about every two weeks. It was at this time that the Energy Advisory Panel was formed with one simple concept, that with regards to recycling, we could do better.
So a three-pronged effort was started to educate households and businesses:
1. Why recycling is important and what can be recycled.
2. To facilitate recycling by making it easier and more convenient to recycle.
3. Encourage everyone to recycle.
Then the recycle trailer was moved to across from the Market and before very long we needed two trailers which needed to be emptied 3 to 4 times per week. Then the City of Cedar Key, Waste Pro and Levy County also implemented educational programs so that everyone would better understand the new recycle/trash program.
Curbside Recycling Happens
In 2010 the City Commission voted to have a curbside recycling program for households and businesses. With this program no one is being forced to recycle, it is the individual’s choice to recycle or not to recycle. The program is very user friendly in that we have a single stream recycle program which means that all recycle material can be mixed together. By recycling residents and businesses can reduced their monthly trash bill and the City saves money every month due to the recycle program. The City is charged $61.00 for every ton of trash that goes to a landfill but recycle tonnage is free so the City saves $61.00 for every ton of recycle material.
What Happens to Recycled Materials
In a recent trip to the County Recycle Facility, Mayor Dale Register, Chief Virgil Sandlin and a group of Cedar Key residents, saw that the recycle material is actually being sorted and recycled. Rumors have persisted that all of the recycle material goes into the landfill. That is not true. Invariably, the folks that say that, when asked, have never been to the County Recycle Center. If you have doubts, go to the County facility and see for yourself or ask Mayor Register or Police Chief Virgil about what they saw.
The County’s recycle operation is funded by the proceeds from the sale of recycled material so they are very interested in recycling everything possible. One of the great things about recycling, once sorted, what would have been trash, if not recycled, suddenly becomes a resource that has value and can be reused. This reduces air and water pollution and lessens our demand on natural resources. Plus everyone has the opportunity to save money.
Citizens Control Their Costs
With the current program you actually have some control of your monthly bill. For households you pick what size trash cart you want, the smaller the size the lower your monthly bill is. By using more recycle carts and reducing usage of trash carts businesses also have the opportunity to save money every month.
Totals for recycling and trash for the past twelve months has been compiled from Levy County Solid Waste Statement that City Hall receives every month. Recycle tonnage was 221 tons. This saved the City of Cedar Key $13,481.00 during that twelve month period. That total does not take into account the savings realized by households and businesses every month. There was 669 tons of trash that were sent to a landfill during the past twelve months. So the capture rate, which is the ratio of waste tonnage compared to recycle tonnage, is about 25%. Recycle tonnage averages about 18 1/2 tons per month. From the days of one recycle trailer at #3 bridge, which is over a 1000% increase per month.
Let’s Keep Recycling Going
So to all of you recyclers, you get the big atta boy and atta girl, good job. To the folks that are reading this that currently do not recycle, please consider participating in the recycle program to make it even more successful. Informational handouts are available at City Hall.