A long and tedious setup for recycling in Florida

Regarding the recycling infrastructures in Florida, they do not yet cover the entire territory and most of the time meet permissive specifications. It must be said that the main players in this type of sector derive their income directly from waste and therefore have no interest in seeing it disappear. So the working conditions are generally unsanitary, the treatment processes potentially dangerous for human health and the environment, and the ecological objectives are mediocre.

Colossal financial investments

Whether it is the purchase of utility vehicles, the upgrade of new recycling units or the training of personnel. In total, installing a waste recycling unit is expensive, sometimes even more than the extraction and transformation of new materials.

Finished processes

On the other hand, to fit into the concept of a circular economy, recycling must be able to be repeated infinitely, which is currently only possible for glass or metal. Other materials such as paper and plastic degrade over recycling, until they become completely unusable. This is due to the very structure of the material, consisting of a single basic substance where metals are made up of independent molecules and atoms. Paper can thus be recycled 4 to 6 times on average.

However, even materials that are supposed to be infinitely recyclable must be nuanced. A recycled aluminum can, for example, will rarely give rise to other aluminum cans because the process alters the quality of the material and the manufacturing of cans requires the use of very pure metals. Ultimately, aluminum, which is supposed to be one of the most easily recyclable materials, can only be integrated here in an open circuit, in less demanding parts. This is the principle of downcycling, by which waste is transformed into a new product of lower quality.

A non-zero impact on the environment

Ton after ton, waste must be transported in vehicles or dumpster rentals running on gasoline which will contribute to air pollution. The processing plants that will then receive them and the sorting, cleaning and transformation processes all need energy to operate. And are likely to release vapors and products potentially harmful to the air or water.

As for the recycling figures, they hide an even darker reality since the percentages generally include the transformation of waste into clinker following incineration, and their reuse in infrastructure. A process which is extremely toxic to soil and groundwater.

Global solutions to improve recycling in Florida

In other words, recycling behind its good intentions still hides an ocean of inequalities.

Under the leadership of the governor of Florida, we see that the time has come above all to reduce the volumes of waste produced. Better than recycling, all waste must first be repaired with a view to future reuse, or recovered to replace other materials through the principle of composting, for example.

In Florida, sorting instructions have already been extended in several hundred municipalities and should concern the entire territory in the years to come, in order to fight pollution, including plastic pollution in Florida.

Industrial waste is also set to decrease thanks to stricter regulations set out by the law relating to energy transition.

Packaging is making way for natural and sustainable products with the gradual disappearance of plastics and the entry into the market of biodegradable alternatives. As for bio-waste, such as vegetable peelings and green waste from the garden, they should gradually reach the collection bins so as to be completely reused by 2025. Later, by 2035, Florida hopes to have reached the ambitious milestone of 65% recycling of municipal waste.

A strict framework from design to the end of product life

Progressive elimination of non-recyclable materials, incentive for new designs through subsidies, investment in new recycling technologies in order to optimize processes. It will also be a question of collaborating more closely with the different branches of industry in order to to increase the share of recycled materials in transport or building projects.

Streamlined waste collection

The objective? Reduce the loss of recyclable waste when it mixes with non-recyclable waste. By increasing the number of collection bins in public spaces or by simplifying sorting via a readable code, Floridian communities have the opportunity to keep public spaces clean, avoid the proliferation of pests and relieve landfills. To this could be added cleaner collection methods, and an increased incentive for recycling, via numerous levers!

Better awareness among Floridian residents

Via newspapers and social networks for example, or the distribution of newsletters where the advantages of recycling, the subtleties of the supply and treatment processes, or the results of past collections will be shared. Meetings and discussions in schools will also raise awareness from an early age.

Positive solutions perhaps, but which are part of a broader dynamic which can only work after a profound modification of our consumer societies. No initiative, however eco-responsible, can be truly sustainable without global involvement of stakeholders at all levels, according to recycling and waste management pros at Dumpster Center Sarasota.

Paradoxically, we have reached a point where to continue to develop, we must rethink our ideals of life and dare to truly return to nature and simplicity.

Individual-level solutions to improve recycling

Sticking a Stop-Pub sticker on your mailbox will, for example, save 35 kg of paper each year. All it takes is a few simple actions, easily achievable on a daily basis!