Tale of 2 cities: DeLand steps up recycling education after Deltona ends recycling program

Recycle Coach app teaches residents how to correctly recycle

DELAND, Fla. – DeLand resident Avalon Marut said she appreciates her city's dedication to continue its recycling program, months after the neighboring city of Deltona said it was forced to suspend its program.
 "We didn't at first and then I did the initiative to do it because I think it's really important to take care of the Earth," said Marut.
City of DeLand officials said recycling has been on the decline due to rising costs and lack of demand for recyclables in China. But there's also another problem.
"A lot of the recycling becomes contaminated. Like, when you put a pizza box into your recycling, then that contaminates the entire pile of recycling," said Chris Graham, city spokesperson. "Residents do want to keep recycling and we want to make it as efficient as possible."
That is why the city of DeLand launched its educational campaign on recycling and conservation efforts. The campaign highlights its Recycle Coach app that educates residents on how to properly recycle. Graham said residents do not pay a recycling fee but there could be a 30-cent addition to their trash fee in the future, to help with recycling costs.
"Residents probably won't notice it but it's something that residents have let us know that they want to keep recycling," Graham said. "Deltona got rid of their recycling and they got some backlash from that, so we want to keep it."
In January, News 6 spoke with Lee Lopez, Deltona's city spokesperson, about the city's decision to suspend its recycling program. Lopez said that the essentially the recycling material wouldn't go overseas, "It would wind up going to the landfill anyway."
On Tuesday, Lopez said that, in lieu of the recycling program, the city launched a task force that includes residents and a couple of city employees to create recycling alternatives through education and operational methods. The task force's first meeting is set for April 4.
Both cities agree that education is key.
"Our hope is that, if we can lower the contamination rates, we can lower our rates in the future because we'll be more efficient recyclers and there might be a lesser cost that is passed on to our residents," said Graham.
Click this link to download DeLand's Recycle Coach app.

About the Author:

Loren Korn is a native Texan who joined the News 6 team as a reporter in May 2014. She was born and raised in Houston and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Journalism.