The LWV participated in a tour of the Palm Beach County Solid Waste Authority (SWA) on July 9th. The SWA was formed in 1975 by the Florida State Legislature. They provide solid waste disposal and recycling services to the county’s 1.4 million residents. Each person produces approximately 12 pounds of waste daily. That equates to nearly 17 million pounds of waste managed by the SWA each day.
The tour began at the Education Center where recycling skills were tested with an interactive learning tool. We toured Renewable Energy Facility 2, where 93% of our garbage is burned and turned into electricity. A rolling tour took us to Renewable Energy Facility 1, two sanitary landfills, the Home Chemical and Recycle Center and the southern entrance to the Greenway Trail System. The tour ended at the Recovered Materials Processing Facility, which sorts 100,000 tons of recycling each year.
The SWA has an award-winning integrated system of facilities that combines recycling, renewable energy and landfilling to effectively manage the county’s waste. An important message from the SWA is … Recycle Right! Many things are recyclable, but not everything. For information on what is recyclable in our county, visit the SWA.ORG website. As a reminder, for the at-home BLUE and YELLOW Bins:
Blue Recycle Bin
Plastic Bottles and Containers, under 2 gallons in size – lids on
Aluminum Cans (food and beverage)
Glass Bottles and Jars – lids off
Cartons, Milk and Juice, lids on
Drink Boxes – no pouches
Yellow Recycle Bin
Cardboard – Cut and flattened to 36” x 36” or less
Newspapers and inserts – No plastic bags
Office and School Paper
Mail & Magazines
Dry Food Boxes – No food stains
Cardboard Paper Rolls
Pizza Boxes – No food stains
Plastic Bags (Stop using them or return to your grocer for recycling)
Foam Products (like take-out containers)
Aluminum Foil, trays and pans
Shredded Paper (tiny bits of paper are lost in the recycling process)
Paper Plates, Paper Towels or Napkins
Plastic Eating Utensils, or Straws
For chemical products, there is a “drive-up” Hazardous Waste Services Center that provides the proper disposal of household hazardous materials for the protection of the environment. The SWA has seven Home Chemical and Recycling Centers (HCRC) throughout Palm Beach County. For complete information regarding the proper disposal of household hazardous waste, call 561-697-2700 or visit SWA.org/HCRC
Hazardous Waste Services Center receives:
Batteries (household and auto) Call 800-8-BATTERY for details.
Used cooking oil
Used oil, filters & antifreeze
Mercury and Fluorescent Lights, Flares
Fuel & Gas, Gas Cylinders
If your recyclable waste does not fit the categories for the Blue Bin, Yellow Bin or Hazardous Waste, then follow the simple principle: “When in Doubt, Throw it Out.”
The SWA has extensive environmental monitoring programs to protect Florida’s valuable resources: air, water, soil and wildlife. The SWA pledges to preserve Florida’s environment and give back to the community. Through their wetland restoration projects, the SWA relocated over 12,000 trees and created lakes to provide habitat for wildlife. The Palm Beach Renewable Energy Park includes the SWA Trailway System, which is open to the public. This 300-acre trailway is home to thousands of native birds, including two endangered species – the Snail Kite and the Wood Stork.
For details on garbage, recycling, chemical disposal, and yard waste, please go to SWA.ORG.
Kathy Panko, Environmental Issues Group
July 15, 2019
Sources: Tour – July 9, 2019