Florida city suspends curbside recycling program

Officials cited market restrictions in their vote to revise collection services.

The city of Deltona, Florida, has voted to suspend its curbside recycling program, among other waste collection changes, citing high costs and safety hazards. The city has a population of almost 91,000.

Deltona contracts with Waste Pro USA, based in Longwood, Florida, for all its residential recycling and waste services. City officials noted that the increasingly tight import restrictions in China have resulted in substantially less material being recycled. This has caused recyclable material, such as paper, to either head straight into landfills or to be stockpiled, creating fire hazards in facilities.

Officials also noted soaring costs that now come with processing recyclables. Legislative documents show that in 2017, processing companies received about $120 per ton of mixed paper that cost $80 to process. Just a year later, the cost to process remained the same, but companies were receiving just $5 or less per ton. With the recycling suspension, processing fees will lower to a negotiated price of $34. In addition, the city used to receive rebates for its recyclables, but has not received any since 2016.

Curbside collection costs for residents will now go from $12.35 per month to $10.60, saving them $21 annually. Officials estimate this will save the city nearly $715,000. Officials also add that removing the recycling collection trucks will reduce the city’s carbon footprint by approximately 58,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) a month.

The recycling suspension will begin Feb. 1 and continue until “recycling markets improve,” according to legislative documents.

In addition to the recycling suspension, the city is also considering additional changes to its hauling services, including franchise fees and consolidating to a single hauler for both commercial and residential services. Commercial service is offered by 13 different haulers, including Republic Services, Waste Connections and Waste Management. The additional changes will be discussed in March.