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~DEP honors company for its more than 45 percent recycling rate~


DEP NE District Director Greg Strong joined by Bob Chabot, Director of Facilities and Horticulture, Brad Walker, Facilities Coordinator and Cullen Richart, Facilities Manager.

JACKSONVILLE – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Northeast District recognized Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens today for its superior recycling efforts. In 2013, this Florida attraction recycled 809 tons, achieving a recycling rate of 45.1 percent.

“Businesses can benefit financially from investing in recycling and that investment benefits Florida's environment,” said DEP Northeast District Director Greg Strong. “I am honored to recognize Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens for its outstanding recycling efforts and for the good environmental stewards they have been in our state.”

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens "Green Team" focuses on reuse and composting. On average the Zoo processes 10 cubic yards per week of herbivore manure, plus the leftover hay and straw bedding, from the Zoo's herbivorous animal collection. This waste material is processed into approximately 10 cubic yards of finished compost per week. The finished compost is used onsite to amend the garden soil throughout the property. This finished compost is also offered to local gardeners and community gardens. All funds raised from the composting program are used to support various plant and habitat conservation projects.

“We have developed a very comprehensive program for virtually everything that is recyclable here at the zoo,” said Bob Chabot, Director of Horticulture and Facilities at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. “We continuously look for creative new ways to expand our recycling program as well as ways to reuse or repurpose materials such as in our Butterfly Hollow exhibit.”

In July, the Department released the 2012 municipal solid waste annual report, which reported Florida’s statewide recycling rate is 48 percent. In 2008, the Florida Legislature established a statewide recycling goal of 75 percent to be achieved by 2020. Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is located in Duval County, which ranked 14th in the state in 2012, with a recycling rate of 47 percent. 2013 recycling data will be available this summer.

The Department has an easy tool for companies to track recycling efforts -- the Florida DEP Business Recycling Tracking Tool. Through the website, which includes free registration, companies can track different types of recycling efforts and produce reports on how those efforts are helping to shrink their carbon footprint. The tracking will help the Department to recognize companies that are doing more to go green.

Commercial municipal solid waste accounts for approximately 55 percent of the total municipal solid waste stream in Florida. In order for Florida to reach its 75 percent goal, the Department is urging all sectors, especially the commercial sector, to actively increase its recycling efforts. According to the 2012 data, less than half of commercial waste is being recycled. It is crucial that businesses, schools and other commercial recyclers increase their recycling efforts. Recycling provides a direct cost savings to most businesses because the more that is recycled means less waste and lower waste management operating costs. Reuse of materials can also represent a cost savings.

For more information about the Recycling Recognition Program click here.