Residents trash Deltona's decision to scrap recycling program

Florida city cites cost-benefit as reason for move

By Mark Lehman - Reporter

DELTONA, Fla. - Residents in Deltona are voicing concerns after the city has decided to put its recycling program on hold.

On Monday, commissioners voted unanimously to suspend curbside recycling pickup beginning on Feb. 1.

A city spokesman said the decision was made because of a drop in demand for raw recycled materials from overseas countries, which has led to increased costs.

"As of this year, we were notified that it was going to cost the city to process recycling material,"  Deltona spokesman Lee Lopez said.  "Essentially, the material wouldn't go overseas.  It would wind up going to the landfill anyway."

The problem isn't something that's unique to Deltona. As the largest city in Volusia County, it's the first to suspend the program, but other municipalities have been exploring similar cost-saving options.

"They've already been exploring this. It's just that the city decided to go ahead and get it done," Lopez said.

With recycling being picked up in the northwest sector of the city on Thursday, homeowners expressed frustration with the decision.

"Why suspend recycling?" Larry Purvis asked. "It's going to end up in the garbage dump, the landfills.  It's going to affect the environment."

Lopez said it will be up to each individual resident to decide if they will continue to recycle.

Currently, Volusia County has 15 recycling drop-off sites, but none are within Deltona city limits.

"What am I going to do? I have no choice," Betty Plank said. "I have to go all the way down to the recycle place. It does become a burden."

According to Lopez, the decision will save customers an average of $21 annually.  Anyone who has already paid taxes for the current year will receive a credit toward next year's taxes.

"That overage is then applied to next year's cost and that's where people will see the reduction in cost," Lopez said. "Essentially, it's like they pay and then get a credit."

City leaders said they will look at reinstating the program in the future, if there is a reduction in costs.

"We don't want to scrap the program. The program works," Lopez said. "We just need to make sure that when people do the recycling that there's actually a cost benefit and it's not going to be a cost to them to recycle."

A list of recycling drop-off locations can be found at Volusia County's website.

News 6 asked county officials across Central Florida if they have plans to do away with their recycling programs. Their unedited responses are listed below:

Brevard County:

Brevard County, which has one of the highest recycling rates in the state, has no plans to “curb” it’s recycling program. (There’s a pun in there, but no. We continue to push recycling.)

Flagler County:

No talk of it.

Marion County:

Marion County has no plans to suspend our recycling program.

Orange County:

Orange County’s curbside recycling program will not be suspended. When the recycling market changed from getting paid to having to pay for the service last year, we increased our recycling education efforts to try to help Orange County to recycle right. In fact, we have several news segments on your station and others about recycling right.

We built on our Think 5 campaign about the ONLY 5 types of items that are recyclable in our program. We also launched a No Bags awareness campaign last year around Earth Day.

And, we took to the streets last summer to tag carts in one east Orange County neighborhood to give curbside feedback to more than 600 customers.

Osceola County:

We’re still running, thank you for asking.

Seminole County:

I touched base with our Solid Waste Division Manager, Jeff Waters, and confirmed that we have no intention to suspend or end the recycling program at this juncture.

Per Jeff:
Seminole County Solid Waste Management Division continue to work with municipal; along with other partners, in the Central Florida area to provide the most efficient recycling program for our customers.

Sumter County:

We provide a single location for residents to dispose of their waste and recyclable materials and we will continue to do so. We will also continue to provide twice a year a household hazardous waste disposal opportunity.

Volusia County:

The curbside recycling program for 46,000-plus homes in the unincorporated area of Volusia County is continuing. A new public information campaign is being launched that will encourage unincorporated residents to get back to the basics of the core recyclable items, which are:

* Glass bottles (clear or tinted; no mirrored or broken glass)
* Aluminum and steel cans
* Plastic bottles and jugs numbers 1 and 2
* Paper (white, lined, newspapers, magazines and fliers)
* Cardboard (food and packing boxes with no food liners)

We will also stress the importance of placing only clean items in recycling bins.  Items that are contaminated with food may cause higher processing costs or cause the material to be disposed of.


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