Andrew McKay 10/24/19
When the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority abruptly ended their contract with Santa Rosa County to both transport and process recyclables earier this year, it created a minor trash collection crisis, with citizens unsure what was happening with their recycling. After much negotiation, ECUA and SRC are back on the verge of resuming recyclables processing. The challenge is that SRC now has to pay for the transportation to the ECUA Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) in Beulah. This means finding a hauler to transport the material from a collection area at the County landfill in Milton to the MRF.
The only local company in a position to do that would need to purchase a very expensive piece of equipment to do so, which means they have to have a long enough contract with the County to be sure they can recoup the cost of their capital investment (a one year term is the current plan). Unfortunately, the contract with ECUA has a 30-day cancellation by ECUA (no termination clause exists on the Santa Rosa side, according to County Attorney Roy Andrews). This means it’s entirely possible another downturn in the recycling market or overly contaminated loads could make ECUA stop accepting Santa Rosa recyclables while SRC would still be under the burden of paying for an extended hauling contract. One additional challenge is that, according to both Commissioner Lane Lynchard and Roy Andrews, ECUA is really the last and only option for recycling right now.
But Santa Rosa County Environental Manager Ron Hixson tells NewsRadio that there is light at the end of the tunnel. He expects recycling service to resume in mid- to late November and encourages residents to continue the practice of recycling properly so that when the material is going to the correct place, they won’t be out of the habit and the contamination rate of the loads won’t be too high. Hixson also says that recycling only comprises roughly 3-4% of total County garbage.
Interview with Ron Hixson here: