A recent story in the Orlando Sentinel revealed that Central Florida is the hands-down winner when it comes to recycling efforts in Florida. To make matters worse, our state pales in comparison to green states such as California, where aggressive recycling campaigns led to about 52 percent of its 88 million tons of trash being diverted into recycling in 2006, the newspaper reported?
More troubling for Florida, however, is that while the overall recycling rate hovered at about 34 percent in the 1990s, that number began to slip in 2000 to below 30 percent. By 2004, about 26 percent of trash was recycled.
While Central Florida is recycling at a higher rate, according to figures from the state Department of Environmental Protection, the rest of the state clearly needs to do better. Instead of filling up a landfill, recycling leads to a greater percentage of trash being turned into new products.
Just about every industrial process produces various types of materials that can be reused. Industrial processes that make consumer goods is just one example.
Industrial byproducts are valuable commodities that are recyclable. Construction and demolition debris share much the same properties as the virgin materials they replace while helping us to preserve natural resources by relying less on virgin materials. Industrial byproducts that are recycled help to conserve energy which in turn reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Using industrial byproducts for recycling helps reduce the demand for products made from energy-intensive manufacturing processes.
Industrial byproducts for recycling also saves money by decreasing disposal costs and helps reduce material costs for end users. Many industries in the United States generate large amounts of industrial byproducts on an annual basis. Unfortunately in the past the majority of many of these materials have been land filled.
State-of-the-art equipment enables Lantana, FL-based Southern Waste Systems--and its sister company Sun Recycling-- to sort and process materials within 24 hours. The company recycles 80 percent of the debris collected and processed which normally would be sent directly to landfills. "Recycling of construction and demolition debris allows us to keep it out of our landfills and allows us to recycle and re-use the material," said John Archambo, director of customer relations for the Solid Waste Authority (SWA) of Palm Beach County. Archambo, who attended the June 25 grand opening of SWS's Sun V recycling facility, said the SWA strongly encourages private companies to recycle.
"It helps expand the life of the landfills," he said.