Submitted by Susan Hardee Steger
June 30, 2014 6:35 a.m.

So, where does your household recyclable material go and what happens once the recycle process begins?  For residents in the City of Fernandina Beach, household waste such as paper, plastic, metal, and glass head to Republic Services a state of the art facility located on Imerson Road in Jacksonville.

Republic 1 Cropped
Republic Services Recycling Facility
Photo courtesy of Republic Services
Republic 5 - Cropped
Jeremiah Glisson, Commissioners Corbett, Gass, Pelican, and Miller along with Advanced Disposal representatives listen to presentation by Republic Services.

Commissioners Corbett, Gass, Miller and Pelican along with city maintenance managers  Jeremiah Glisson and Rex Lester traveled to Jacksonville on Wednesday for a first hand look at the recycling process. After the recycling trucks arrive at Republic Services, 87% of the material unloaded is never touched by hand.

Automation is so  advanced  that various grades of plastic (1 – 7) are easily sorted by machines. Automation keeps it simple for residents who recycle.  No longer are residents required to remove caps from plastic bottles or remove metal caps from glass bottles.  As far as cardboard is concerned, as long as the box fits into the green container, there is no need to break down the box.


Ordinary milk cartons are sorted, banned together, and shipped  to a company that then produces marketable items.

Glass is crushed into  sand like crystals and shipped to a facility that turns the crystals into bottles for Anheuser Bush.  Within 30 days of  glass containers arriving at the recycling center, recycled bottles are back on the store shelves.

When asked to name the material (paper, plastic or metal) with the most market price volatility, the answer was plastic. A decreased oil supply, results in a higher demand for used plastic material.  Likewise, when oil supplies are at a comfortable level, demands for recycled plastic decrease.  The current price for plastic is higher than it is recycled metals.

Useful information for residents

Save water! As long as plastic and glass are reasonably clean and empty of food or liquid, washing is not necessary.

Advanced Disposal (A D) does not want to litter!  That is why plastic grocery bags are not accepted unless a collection of bags are bagged within a bag.

Recycle Nos

No paper towels (low quality material)
No tissue or tissue paper (litter issues and low quality)
No gift wrapping paper (low quality)
No greasy pizza boxes
No styrofoam especially “peanut” packing material
No styrofoam cups, or egg cartons unless they are paper.
Included in the no list is styrofoam in the green containers used to contain grocery store produce.
No mirrors
No large pieces of glass

The numbers

The City of Fernandina Beach compared to a more heavily populated Nassau County is doing an excellent job in its recycling efforts.  Jeremiah Glisson, maintenance manager, provided the following information:

Fdna Tonnage                Nassau Cty Tonnage

January                          97.36               131.13

February                        87.25                98.00

March                             91.74               107.36

April                             110.26                126.33

May                                98.21                134.57

Recycle to save energy.  One aluminum can saves the amount of energy to light one 100 watt bulb for 20 hours.

The State of Florida initiated a goal to recycle 75% of household waste by the year 2020  to reduce the amount of waste in landfills.  Since glass items take 1 – 2 million years to decompose; a plastic bag from 20 – 1000 years; a plastic jug about a 1 million years; a styrofoam cup 500 years, a paper bag-  1 month; cardboard – 2 months; a tin can 50 years; aluminum, 200 – 500 years to decompose, we all benefit from a strong recycling program.


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Nancy Fishburn
Nancy Fishburn(@naf1313yahoo-com)
8 years ago

Thanks so much for this information! Answers my using water vs cleaning question. Am I correct that we can recycle styrofoam other than “peanuts”? (Take out cartons, cups, egg cartons, etc.?) Also, if we mistakenly put something in the bin that isn’t accepted, does it get automatically rejected? Thanks, again.

Emily Carmain
Emily Carmain(@ecarmainbellsouth-net)
8 years ago

It’s great to get this info — I’ve always wondered about where the recycle items really end up and how they’re sorted. I had been trying to bag my glass stuff separate from plastic, but good that I don’t have to do that now – I bag it to drop it off at a recycle collection place because I don’t have a recycle bin at my home. Wish I did. I live in a condo, and for whatever reason, they don’t provide a recycle dumpster — only a regular trash dumpster. I’ve been meaning to inquire why we can’t get a place on site to put all the recycling here. Guess it costs the HOA more to offer it, which is too bad.

Dave Lott
Dave Lott (@guest_20044)
8 years ago

The way I read the list of prohibited items, nearly all types of styrofoam containers are prohibited and egg cartons are called out specifically.

nancy dickson
nancy dickson(@nancyjackathenshotmail-com)
8 years ago

Many parts of this country and Europe require folks to recycle and provide penalties for those who don’t. Separating trash is not difficult and makes a huge difference to the planet.

lola white
lola white (@guest_20125)
8 years ago

yes i live at a campground in yulee and we put all our trash in a dumpster i wish we had a recycle program do they go through the garbage and seperate it or does it go straight to the dump if it does then im gonna start going to my nearest recycling bins we really need more places in yulee we only have one that i know of on paiges dairy road i think

gerry clare
gerry clare(@gerrycclaregmail-com)
8 years ago

Publix has recycle egg carton bins as well as plastic bag recycles.

Peter (@guest_66464)
2 months ago

Hi, I am hearing from locals that the recycle program is not real? Items put into sorting bins are not put into landfills? What is actually happening? Does anyone have insight to this? Thanks

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