As 2021 approaches, Leon County is having conversations related to the long-term strategies for an effective recycling program. At their Nov. 17 meeting, the County Commissioners unanimously voted to instruct staff to renegotiate a contract with Marpan Recycling.
Marpan Recycling, the County’s current recycling provider, has stated that their plant is running on a deficit due to a decline in global markets for recycled commodities. This could force them to halt the recycling program altogether, but they are continuing to operate under an interim agreement requested by the Board back in February to allow for time to find more recycling options.
Many local governments are currently having trouble keeping up with their waste load because international markets restrict recyclable goods with a new “National Sword” policy that only accepts recyclables with a 99.5% purity standard. This benchmark is considered unattainable for most countries and has caused commodity prices to drop while looking for new markets for recyclables.
The Commission was faced with seeking an alternate proposal for its single-stream recycling program from other processors if Marpan was not able to meet the County’s expectations in quality, cost or value. Discontinuing the recycling program was considered as an alternate proposal as well, but was dismissed due to community support for the program and Florida’s goal for all counties to reach a 75% recycling rate.
The study of all the alternatives concluded that negotiating new terms with Marpan is the most fiscally responsible and community-based option available at this time. If the County is unable to come up with an agreement with Marpan, they will extend current terms until September 2021 to allow for finding more options.