Team evaluates future of imperiled Miami-Dade recycling
With time ticking down on Miami-Dade’s current recycling operation and buyers of recycled products few, the Department of Waste Management has brought Kessler Consulting on board to help analyze future recycling options, said department spokesperson Gayle Love.
“We hope to have our first meeting with them soon,” she said, “and will be able to map out our expectations and a timeline.”
Tampa-based Kessler, one of the largest solid waste management consulting firms in the Southeast, is focused on “generating innovative, sustainable solid waste, recycling and organic management solutions that improve our environment,” according to its website.
County commissioners last October directed Mayor Carlos Giménez’s administration to evaluate and report on the county’s recycling options once the current contract with Houston-based Waste Management Inc. expires in March 2023.
The contract with Waste Management is limited to the recycling of paper products, cardboard, narrow-neck plastic containers, aseptic containers, glass bottles and jars, and aluminum and steel cans, but does not allow for recycling garbage, paper or cardboard soiled with liquid or food waste, batteries and many other potential contaminants.
The recycling problem is exacerbated because China, historically one of America’s top buyers of recyclable materials, has stopped taking most of them, and no other countries are willing to take up the overage, causing a worldwide glut of recyclable materials.
The Mayor’s office designated the Department of Waste Management to report within six months evaluating:
■The feasibility and cost of continuing the current approach to the management of recyclable materials.
■The feasibility and cost of potential innovative options for recycling other than the current approach, including evaluating the recycling success rates in other cities using different methodologies for solid waste management, reviewing innovative recycling technology, and evaluating the potential to achieve other county resilience and sustainability goals.
■A comparison of the cost associated with each of the potential options, the Department of Waste Management’s budget, legally available funds, and bond covenants.
■The environmental benefits and repercussions of each potential option.
■Recommendations, including a timeline, for the next steps to ensure that recycling continues uninterrupted in the county once the current recycling contract expires.
Covid-19 delayed executions of the county commission’s directive, Ms. Love said, but “now we should be able to get the ball rolling.”