New ideas for recycling in The Villages explored as rising costs a certainty

Recycling will become more costly in The Villages in the near future, regardless of whether bold new options are pursued or the status quo remains.

The topic of recycling and solid waste collection was discussed Wednesday morning at a meeting of the North Sumter County Utility Dependent District Board at Savannah Center.

John Wood of Jacobs, the waste hauler in Community Development Districts 1 through 11 in The Villages, presented four options for the future of recycling in Florida’s Friendliest Hometown:

• Continue what currently exists, which will increase costs $1 per month per household.

• Stop collecting newspapers, mixed paper, mixed plastic and glass. That would cause an increase of 50 cents per month per household.

• Improve recycling through education and hire a staff person who would do outreach. That increase would cost $1.20 per month per household, but would lead to improved yields in recycling.

• Increase recycling through education and adding materials, like cookware, window panes and food waste, to collections. That would increase costs by $3 per month per household, but again would improve yields.

What do think should be done with recyclables in The Villages? Let us know in a Letter to the Editor submitted at this link: https://www.villages-news.com/submit-letters-editor/

There are currently 55 tons of recyclables collected each collection day in The Villages. There is no recycling south of State Road 44 in The Villages.

It costs $80 per ton to recycle and $28 per ton to landfill in the NSCUDD area.

There were a number of ideas offered either by the presenters or members of the audience:

• There was a suggestion from Jacobs that the District Office and commercial establishments in The Villages could lead the way in a more comprehensive recycling effort. That would include high-profile sorting bins in the front end of businesses, including restaurants, that generate a great deal of cardboard and beverage containers. However, there would have to be some kind of reconfiguration of the dumpster areas to allow for both trash and recycling collection.

This type of sorting bin could be placed at District Office facilities and commercial establishments in The Villages.
Large trash bins are not in use at homes in The Villages.

• The question was raised as to why no trash or collection bins are available to homeowners in The Villages. That is because the fear is that crowded garages would lead to the storage of those bins in driveways outside the homes. It would be an aesthetics problem.   

• It was reported that newspapers have “no market value” when it comes to recycling and discarded newspapers make up 21 percent of the recycling stream in The Villages. Dan Warren, of the Village of Gilchrist, had a suggestion for what to do with the newspapers and cardboard currently collected in The Villages. “It can be burned,” Warren said, suggesting it could be part of the waste-to-energy effort. Barbara Gaines, of the Village of Calumet Grove, concurred with Warren’s idea. She said discarded newspapers could be put out with yard waste and then burned. “The trucks would be busy,” she said.

• Community Development District 5 Supervisor Gerald Knoll asked if cutting back trash collection from twice a week to once a week in The Villages is being considered. He was told it is being looked at as a way of reducing costs.

• CDD 6 Chairman John Calandro said he was in favor of hiring dedicated staff within the District Office to look at this complex problem, including messaging. “I am spoiled. I put it out at the end of the driveway and say, “It’s somebody else’s problem.’ We have to convince people they are part of the solution,” Calandro said.

You can see the entire Power Point presentation at this link: Villages Solid Waste