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.
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.
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 large pieces of glass
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.