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Florida Department of Environmental Protection
(850) 245-2118
www.dep.state.fl.us

Recycling Makes Good Sense for Businesses

Many businesses recognize that recycling is good for their bottom line as well as the environment. A strong recycling program can reduce waste disposal fees and demonstrate that a business is invested in protecting natural resources.

Commercial municipal solid waste accounts for nearly 55 percent of the total municipal solid waste stream in Florida. According to 2015 data, about 54 percent of commercial waste is currently being recycled.

In 2008, the Florida Legislature set a statewide recycling goal of 75 percent by 2020. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Recycling Recognition Program honors businesses that help the state move toward that goal.

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A business wanting to develop an effective recycling plan first must understand its waste stream. Perform a facility walk-through and assess all waste generating practices. This will help pinpoint which materials to collect for recycling and what waste possibly could be prevented in the first place.

The greatest potential for waste reduction can be found by targeting materials that constitute the highest percentage of the waste stream. At the same time, include materials that easily can be recycled regardless of how much of the waste stream they constitute.

A facility walk-through also will help determine what size and type of recycling containers are needed. Containers should be clearly marked and placed near where recyclables are generated for the convenience of participants.

Lowering the volume of trash and frequency of trash collection can cut waste disposal fees. Choosing the right waste and recycling containers and collection services is an essential part of making a program cost-effective.

Recyclables collection service may be provided by a trash hauler, recycling company or a small collector. County recycling coordinators are a good resource for advice on starting or expanding a recycling program.

A recycling rate of at least 60 percent is necessary for a business to qualify for the DEP Recycling Recognition Program in 2016. The number rises to at least 70 percent in 2017. For 2020 and after, a business must have a recycling rate of at least 75 percent.

The department has an easy, free tool for organizations to track and report their recycling efforts – the Florida DEP Business Recycling Tracking Tool, or Re-TRAC. Through the website, companies can track different types of recycling efforts and produce reports on how those efforts are helping to shrink their environmental footprint. The tracking tool helps the department identify companies that are doing more to go green.

Recycling reclaims valuable materials, lessens the need for more landfills and creates jobs. In Florida, recycling and reuse businesses employ 32,000 people and generate an annual payroll of $765 million and $4.4 billion in annual revenues.

To learn more about the Recycling Recognition Program, visit http://www.dep.state.fl.us/waste/categories/recycling/pages/recognition.htm or call Henry Garrigo with DEP’s Waste Reduction section at 850-245-8822.