Florida is trashy. Literally. Every day, the people living in the Sunshine State produce hundreds of tons of trash—paper, plastic, organic, metal, glass...you name it.
Once all that garbage is carted away from their driveways and curbs, however, most people don’t give it much further thought. It has to go somewhere, though, and most often, it goes to landfills, transfer stations and treatment plants throughout Florida or onto trains and barges and sent even farther afield.
In denser urban areas where land is pricey and space is tight, it’s not surprising that the trash is taken far away from the inner city but that does not mean that city-dwellers and suburbanites alike shouldn’t care about the afterlife of their trash. Because while most everyone is happy to get their garbage off their hands, they tend to be less enthused about having those aforementioned landfills, transfer stations, or treatment facilities anywhere near their homes or communities.
It is incredibly important to know where your building or HOA’s garbage and recycling is going, and to educate yourself about new waste and recycling practices. After all, a landfill or processing center could be proposed to open near your neck of the woods—and landfills are one of the most potent contributors to global warming, responsible for 36 percent of all methane emissions in the United States. Or, perhaps a recycling hub could start in your own building’s basement. Or maybe you’ve got an electronic recycling box in your basement already (most big buildings already do). You should know about it.
A Patchwork Approach
As a state, Florida doesn’t have one singular trash collection system. Instead, each municipal area has a different place where their garbage goes and a different method of collection. In some counties, collection items are sorted by county workers and are hauled away by a private contractor. From there, any useful components are recovered and reused if possible. Everything else is sorted, shredded and recycled.