- The Emerald Coast Utilities Authority's (ECUA) new $10.4 million Interim Materials Recycling Facility is scheduled to open in September after an anticipated start date of summer 2016.
- The 54,000 square-foot IMRF, using equipment from Bulk Handling Systems, has the capacity to sort 25 tons of single-stream recyclables per hour. It will be accepting residential and commercial material from Escambia County and Santa Rosa County.
- All recyclables are currently going to the Escambia County Perdido Landfill. ECUA estimates it will save $45.06 per ton in tipping fees by diverting this material from the landfill.
This facility will bring recycling access back to more than 100,000 ECUA customers after the program was canceled in December. ECUA ran into problems when a Montgomery, AL facility closed in October and a subsequent arrangement with Tarpon Paper Co. ended when the company added a fee of $12.50 per ton. Since then, the roughly 70% of ECUA customers that had been participating in the recycling program have seen their material going to the landfill.
ECUA is also exploring the possibility of constructing a mixed waste processing facility on the site, which is an interesting development since the Montgomery facility which used this technology shut down for a variety of reasons. The situation appears to be different in this case though as ECUA and Escambia County have been negotiating with an interested vendor. In the meantime, the Montgomery facility may switch to either single- or dual-stream processing.
Officials hope that the IMRF will help ECUA make progress toward Florida's goal of a 75% recycling rate by 2020. According to the state's Department of Environmental Protection, the rate was 54% in 2015 and 20 counties have surpassed 50%.