© R. Roth / stock.adobe.com

Florida city suspends curbside recycling program

Deltona, Florida, officials have voted to suspend curbside recycling, among other waste collection changes, citing high costs and safety hazards. The city has a population of almost 91,000.

Deltona contracts with Waste Pro USA, based in Longwood, Florida, for its residential recycling and waste services. City officials note that the increasingly tight import restrictions in China have resulted in substantially less material being recycled, causing recyclables such as paper to either head straight into landfills or to be stockpiled, creating fire hazards in facilities.

Officials also note soaring costs that now come with processing recyclables. Legislative documents show that in 2017, processing companies received about $120 per ton of mixed paper that cost $80 to process. Just a year later, the cost to process remained the same, but companies were receiving $5 or less per ton. In addition, the city used to receive rebates for its recyclables but has not received any since 2016.

With the suspension, processing fees have lowered to a negotiated price of $34.

Curbside collection costs for residents went from $12.35 per month to $10.60.

Officials estimate the change will save the city nearly $715,000. The recycling suspension began Feb. 1 and continues until “recycling markets improve,” according to legislative documents.

© springtime78 / stock.adobe.com

Massachusetts issues notices of noncompliance for violations of state recycling regulations

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has issued 119 notices of noncompliance and eight waste ban orders with penalties to entities found violating the state’s recycling rules in 2018.

These actions, which build upon the state’s recent efforts to promote the environmental benefits of recycling, were for violations involving improper disposal of significant amounts of recyclables and cover a wide spectrum of public and private institutions, including the food and retail sectors, hospitality sector and educational and medical facilities.

The state’s waste bans include materials such as paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, metal containers, construction materials and leaves and yard waste. The entire list and further descriptions can be found online at www.mass.gov/guides/massdep-waste-disposal-bans.

“While Massachusetts’ waste bans have increased recycling, it is important to make sure that the rules are being followed,” Martin Suuberg, MassDEP commissioner, says. “The inspection and compliance efforts have helped to highlight these opportunities for businesses and help them fix and improve their recycling programs. These inspections will continue as we work to make sure that we are doing our best to promote recycling.”

For years, MassDEP says it has had and enforced solid waste disposal bans, which help stimulate markets for recyclables, preserving limited disposal capacity, conserving natural resources and reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

More than 80 percent of observed waste ban violations were for improper disposal of cardboard, the agency says. For most of these violations, companies already had recycling programs in place. While the various programs faced a range of issues, such as insufficient staff training, lack of signage or containers that were not the right size or not collected frequently enough, companies that were cited for noncompliance have addressed their respective issues and returned to compliance upon receiving notices for violations.