FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 15, 2012
DEP EXPANDS RECYCLING RECOGNITION PROGRAM IN HONOR OF AMERICA RECYCLES DAY
~Nominations sought for businesses, schools and public groups for statewide recognition of outstanding recycling efforts~
TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is expanding its Recycling Recognition Program to encourage the commercial industry, schools, public groups and citizens to increase recycling in order to reach Florida's recycling goal of 75 percent by 2020. The program's expansion comes on America Recycles Day, a nationwide effort to encourage increased recycling.
“America Recycles Day is the perfect time to educate Floridians on how to increase recycling, which, in turn, better protects Florida’s natural resources,” said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. “The Department's expanded recycling program encourages businesses to report and expand recycling efforts in order to reach Florida's 75 percent recycling goal."
Florida’s 75 percent recycling goal was set by the state Legislature and focuses on municipal solid waste and does not include industrial solid waste. Some common types of municipal solid waste include newspapers, office paper, glass and plastic bottles and food waste. The most recent data shows the residential sector has about a 42 percent recycling rate, while the commercial sector is at roughly 44 percent and overall, Florida recycles at about a 43 percent rate. In order for Florida to meet the 75 percent goal, it is critical for both the private sector and residential sector to increase recycling rates.
The Department is hopeful that the expanded recognition program will encourage the commercial sector not only to recycle more, but also to increase reporting. The Department has an easy tool for companies to track and compare its recycling efforts to that of other businesses -- 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 as the Department provides recognition to companies that are doing more to go green.
“We hope the success of the program within the private sector will encourage and motivate others to participate,” said Jorge Caspary, director of the Department's Division of Waste Management. “The goal cannot be attained without a major increase in recycling from both the residential and the commercial sectors.”
Recycling has a direct cost savings to businesses because the more that is recycled means the less waste generated and thus lowers the operating cost of hauling waste away. Residents have motivation to recycle because it allows for reuse of household products and also cuts down on the amount of waste sent to local landfills. The Department encourages residents to recycle at home and find out what recycling efforts are underway at their local schools, their workplace and the community groups in which they are involved. County recycling coordinators can help businesses, institutions and community groups create or improve recycling efforts.
Earlier this year, the Department initiated the Recycling Recognition Program to honor businesses for their extensive recycling efforts. Broken Sound Golf Club in Palm Beach County received the award for achieving a municipal solid waste recycling rate of 92 percent. The program's expansion will include recognition for public groups, schools and residents.
The Department is seeking candidates for statewide recognition and needs the public's help in spreading the word. To nominate a business, community group, school or resident, contact Ron Henricks at Ron.Henricks@dep.state.fl.us or 850-245-8717. Nominations may also be provided through the DEP Recycling Recognition Program webpage.
Also, as part of America Recycles Day, events will be held statewide to promote and encourage recycling.
Other Department efforts related to recycling include:
- The Office of Environmental Education partners with the Florida Green School Network to annually award schools with the best environmental programs.
- The Green Lodging Program partners with and recognizes lodging facilities that make a commitment to conserve and protect Florida's natural resources.
- The Recycling Business Assistance Center assists in the development of markets for recyclable materials after they have been collected for recycling.