Indian River and St. Lucie counties cashing in on Palm Bay’s recyclables


Indian River County stands to slash its annual recycling costs to a pittance by serving as middleman for the shipment of Palm Bay’s recyclables to the St. Lucie County Landfill.

Indian River would wind up paying an estimated $23,600 per year to dispose of its own 20,000 tons per year of recyclable materials at the St. Lucie Landfill, under deals set to go into effect Thursday, Oct. 1.

Indian River anticipates earning $250,400 per year by allowing Republic Services Inc. to bring 8,000 tons of Palm Bay recyclables through the county’s Recycling Transfer Station en route to the St. Lucie Landfill.

It costs Indian River $274,000 annually to truck its own recyclable materials – plastic, glass, aluminum, tin, steel, metal alloys, cardboard, paper and paperboard boxes – to the St. Lucie Landfill.

County commissioners in both counties voted unanimously last Tuesday to add the Palm Bay recyclables to the terms of a Nov. 19, 2019 agreement for St. Lucie to accept all of Indian River’s recyclables.

Under that six-year deal, St. Lucie deducts tipping fees for the recyclable materials and splits the proceeds from resales 50-50 with Indian River, records show.

So far, St. Lucie has paid Indian River $13,000 in revenue sharing from the sale of old corrugated cardboard, records show.

Indian River County commissioners also voted to approve a five-year agreement with Republic Services, a national waste hauler with an office in Vero Beach, to bring Palm Bay’s recyclables through the county’s Recycling Transfer Facility, 1327 74th Ave., S.W. The agreement has a five-year renewal clause.

Republic Services started operating the county’s Recycling Transfer Facility April 1 under a deal commissioners approved Feb. 18, records show. The deal can be renewed annually through Sept. 30, 2025.

In August, Republic Services asked Indian River to add Palm Bay’s recyclables to the mix after being awarded a 10-year materials management contract that goes into effect Oct. 1, records show.

Indian River’s Solid Waste Disposal District has been sending recyclable materials to St. Lucie’s facility since August 2019 when a storm caused a roof collapse at Tropical Recycling in Fort Pierce.

The St. Lucie County Landfill, 6120 Glades Cutoff Road, includes a bailing and recycling facility that can process up to 300 tons per day of recyclables, records show.

Assuming 250 business days per year, the facility could process as much as 75,000 tons of recyclable materials annually. It accepts recyclables from Martin County as well as Indian River.

Photos by Brenda Ahearn

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