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State of recycling with Bay County incinerator shutting down

Published: Sep. 2, 2020 at 9:02 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -

According to Bay County’s website, the incinerator has been an alternative to recycling. But now with the facility on the way out, county leaders are searching for other options.

”We certainly are looking longer term,” said County Manager Bob Majka. “Once the solid waste revenue stream for the county is back to a break-even point we can begin potentially considering some recycling options. A number of challenges we face though for example, right now there simply is no market for recycling.”

After the incinerator is fully shut down, trash will go through the Steelfield Landfill while the county searches for alternatives.

”We’re not in this business to compete with the private sector or turn a profit but I think the public also expects us if we’re providing the service to at least break even,” said Majka

The county had a conventional recycling program but that was shut down after Hurricane Michael.

However, officials are open to the idea of still providing the service.

”I’ve had a conversation with my peers at the cities [in the county] that if they would like to have those recycling programs in their municipalities, we would be more than willing to surplus those containers to them and allow them to operate their own municipal recycling programs within their jurisdictions,” said Majka.

Officials say the county found itself in a similar situation years ago which brought about the incinerator. Now officials are hoping for a newer and more financially stable option for recycling.

”I would certainly hope as a society we will come up with other ways to deal with our refuses. I think we’ve got some time to look at these things and do it smartly,” said Majka. “Just right now it doesn’t make sense for us to pass the cost on to the public when we’re not breaking even under the current operations.”

Majka says for potential environmental impacts, the county has regulatory agencies that make sure everything is in check and will continue to do so after the incinerator is shut down.

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