Recycling deal means revenue for St. Lucie

St. Lucie County could earn modest amounts of revenue by taking in 20,000 tons per year of recyclable materials from Indian River County.

Both county commissions approved a 6-year agreement last month for St. Lucie County to process Indian River County’s recycling materials at its solid waste facility at 6120 Glades Cut-off Road, Fort Pierce.

St. Lucie has agreed to split the proceeds of the sales of the recyclable materials 50-50 with Indian River, after charging an administrative fee, records show.

But Indian River won’t pay any fees to St. Lucie County, records show. St. Lucie will only collect a fee when the average market value of a recyclable material exceeds the fee amount. The fee is $75 per ton for single-stream recyclables – such as newspapers, bottles and cans – and $10 per ton for old corrugated cardboard, records show.

The corrugated cardboard may generate a small amount of income for the two counties, records show.

But the average market value of single-stream recyclables is not expected to exceed $75 per ton.

“At this time, recycling has a very small profit margin over operating costs,” said Rebecca Olson, St. Lucie County Utilities marketing and quality control coordinator.

“That being said, this is a huge win for both counties and our local environment,” Olson said. “Accepting Indian River County’s recyclables ensures those materials stay out of the landfills, extending landfill life in both counties.”

Indian River’s only expense will for trucking almost 20,000 tons of recyclable materials per year to St. Lucie’s facility, records show. That’s expected to cost nearly $300,000. The contract between Indian River and St. Lucie will automatically renew for an additional 5-year term, records show. Either county may terminate the agreement without cause by providing 180 days prior notice.

Indian River’s Solid Waste Disposal District started sending recyclable materials to St. Lucie’s facility on Aug. 21 after a storm on Aug. 12 damaged the roof at Tropical Recycling, 1450 Bell Ave., Fort Pierce.

Tropical Recycling initially indicted it would be unable to process and transfer recyclables for at least four weeks, records show. But Fort Pierce condemned the building on Oct. 9, leaving the company unable to resume operations.

Indian River had been doing business with Tropical Recycling since July 2015, records show.

Their contract was set to expire Aug. 31, 2020, but was terminated on Nov. 19 by mutual agreement.

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