Conservation Corner: Don’t let recycling rumors hinder your efforts

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By Tom Deverin

Many of you may have heard various rumors about the recycle program here in Cedar Key and Levy County so let’s clear these rumors up with some facts. About three weeks ago the Levy County prison camp was closed. On Wednesday February 22, Warden Bateman, who runs the Lowell Prison Camp (the facility that Levy County inmates were transferred to) was made aware of the fact that due to this transferring of prisoners our City and County would no longer have inmate labor to sort our recyclables, bringing our County recycling program to a standstill.  She was also informed that because there was no longer recycling in the county, the Florida DEP cancelled the awards ceremony at our school that for the second year has won the state wide America Recycles Day Pledge Contest. Warden Bateman took immediate action to rectify this situation. 

County Coordinator Moody has ensured citizens and officials that the County program at the Levy County Transfer Station will be back in operation on or before March 12 at which time inmates will once again be sorting the recycle material that is brought into this facility. Trailers for the collection of recycling materials will once again be placed throughout the county, including one at Cedar Key School.  We look forward to rescheduling the DEP awards ceremony once the County recycling program is back in place, giving our students the recognition they deserve.

As for our Cedar Key recycling program, nothing has changed. Waste Pro is still collecting recyclables in a separate truck from the solid waste and the recyclable materials are being hauled to the closest “single-stream” recycling processing facility in the state, located in Interlachen, FL. Waste Pro is making this effort to ensure our recycled materials are not being disposed of with the rest of the solid waste in Bronson. 

All of our recycling efforts are still helping lower the cost to the City and helping keep costs low for Waste Pro as well by reducing the tonnage of solid waste removed from Cedar Key. 

Even if prisoners are not available, recycling will continue.  The Energy, Climate Change and Economic Security Act of 2008, establishing a statewide recycling goal of 75% by 2020, requires the County to have a recycle collection site and is further required to actually recycle that material. So, recycling in Cedar Key and Levy County is here to stay for the long-term. Embrace it; we can all participate in this. It makes you feel that in some small way you are making a difference and you are. Collectively we are making a big difference.

 There is more good news about recycling. The Cedar Key Chamber has made arrangements with Florida By Products to establish six sites in Cedar Key for the collection of used cooking oil. This oil will then be processed and reused for a multitude of purposes. This will also address the unsightly piles of used oil containers stacked up around restaurants. Plus, the revenue generated by this program will go to the Chamber to use in promoting Cedar Key. This is a win-win for everyone, plus it is very exciting to see the Chamber working to make our City a model for energy awareness, conservation and sustainability. This is another example of how turning waste into a resource benefits all of us.

There is a web site called www.call2recycle.com that will give you locations of places in your area that will recycle rechargeable batteries. Radio Shack will do this at any of their locations. 

Every day, ask yourself, what can I do today to REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE? You may be surprised with the answers and results that you come up with.