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CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850.245.2112, 


~Hotel achieves notable 41.2 percent recycling rate~ 


From left to right: David Twitchell, Ed Walls, Mauricio Gutierrez and Cliff Wilson.

HOLLYWOOD  The Florida Department of Environmental Protection recognized the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa today for its superior recycling efforts. In 2013, this world-renowned hotel achieved a recycling rate of 41.2 percent. The Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa is the first hotel to qualify for the DEP’s Recycling Recognition Program.

DEP’s Deputy Secretary Cliff Wilson joined Westin Diplomat’s General Manager Ed Walls, Director of Engineering David Twitchell and Sustainability Chairperson Mauricio Gutierrez for a recognition ceremony at the resort today.

"The tourism industry is a major player in Florida's economy and can have a significant impact on our environment," said DEP's Deputy Secretary Cliff Wilson. “The Westin Diplomat is leading the way for the hotel industry with their recycling efforts and sustainability activities, showing that this industry can thrive while being good stewards to the environment.”

In 2013, this beachfront resort recycled more than 950 tons. The Westin Diplomat formed a sustainability committee six years ago, which led to a greater emphasis on recycling. The resort works with Waste Management to employ single-stream recycling to simplify the efforts of various people involved in managing the waste stream of the large resort complex. In 2012, their partnership with Waste Management led to an organics program - collecting food waste primarily from kitchens and prep into 90 gallon totes for pickup three times per week. Additionally, an effective kitchen grease reclamation program converts the grease into bio-diesel fuel. The Westin Diplomat also requires all landscape trimmings to be recycled.

Director of Engineering David Twitchell said, "On behalf of the entire team at the Westin Diplomat, we are very pleased and honored to receive this recognition from Florida DEP for all of the hard work by scores of Diplomat Ambassadors to make this happen. Our intent is to leverage the momentum of the recognition to further inspire our team here to new heights in recycling and sustainability awareness and initiatives." 

The department recently released the 2013 municipal solid waste annual report, which reported Florida’s statewide recycling rate at 49 percent. In 2008, the Florida Legislature established a new statewide recycling goal of 75 percent to be achieved by 2020. The Westin Diplomat is headquartered in Broward County, which ranks 11th in the state for total recycling in 2013, at 53 percent. Florida is visited by nearly 100 million visitors per year, visitors who stay in hotels and resorts throughout the state. With a recycling rate more than 40 percent, the Westin Diplomat is an excellent example for other Florida businesses, especially those in the hospitality industry.

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 2013 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, the less waste and lower waste-management operating costs. Reuse of materials can also represent a cost savings.

The department has an easy tool for companies to track their 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. For more information about the Recycling Recognition Program click here.