Partnership Foundation and University of Florida Announce New Recycling Study Findings
By Space Coast Daily // January 12, 2023
Findings show elimination of recycling programs in Florida is NOT an effective strategy to curb costs or the environmental impact of waste
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The Florida Recycling Partnership Foundation and the University of Florida today announced the results of a study examining the environmental and business impacts of discontinued municipal recycling systems in Florida.
Among the report’s key findings are that discontinuation of recycling systems offered little cost savings for cities while significantly increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
Instead, Florida municipalities should consider a market-based recycling system, which means targeting high-value recycling commodities, such as plastic bottles, jugs, and tubs; aluminum and steel cans; and newspaper and cardboard to generate savings and mitigate the impact of waste on the environment.
The study was conducted over a five-month period to measure the impact of discontinued recycling programs on Florida municipal budgets and waste management-based greenhouse gas emissions.
It also evaluated the influence of recycling commodity prices on Florida’s recycling system and explored alternative recycling models for use in the state.
“We wanted to better understand the economics of recycling in Florida and the relationship between cost and environmental benefits,” said Florida Recycling Partnership Foundation Executive Director Keyna Cory.
The Florida Recycling Partnership Foundation is a coalition of businesses and associations that works to improve the state’s recycling rates and systems.
The foundation hopes to use the report’s insights to improve the economic and environmental viability of recycling programs statewide.
“The recycling industry has reached a tipping point and going forward it will be important to determine a cost-effective recycling program that allows us to reduce our environmental impacts and make better use of our resources,” said Dr. Malak Anshassi, one of the researchers.
The Florida Recycling Partnership Foundation is a coalition of companies at the forefront of developing and adopting sustainable business practices that not only promote recycling but reduce and reuse our resources.
Their mission is to educate policymakers, business leaders, and the public about the benefits of recycling. In the past eight years, the organization has grown from five to 26 members and has conducted approximately 20 recycling workshops/summits throughout the state.
They are also responsible for coordinating Florida Recycles Week with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
The Sustainable Materials Management Research Group is in the Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences under the UF Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure and Environment.
The group focuses on using a combination of field, laboratory, and computational research to the solid waste management industry and community.
The research interests include waste reduction, resource and energy extraction, recycling and beneficial reuse, emerging contaminants characterization and treatment, and sustainable disposal of various solid waste streams and industrial byproducts.