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Sebastian leaders working on improving business recycling

SEBASTIAN — Improved commercial recycling in the City of Sebastian is a work in progress, city leaders say.

Businesses that wish to participate in recycling must foot the bill themselves, according to the city, which can be a burden for some. “If we could mandate that,” City Manager Al Minner said of commercial recycling, “it would be great.”

However, the mandate could hurt the businesses’ bottom lines.

Speaking from his own experience, Councilman Eugene Wolff told his fellow council members at a recent meeting that the place where he works used to have cardboard recycling on site. But the cost, he said, became too much.

“It is a real burden,” Wolff said of having to pay a fee for the recycling container as well as collection, on top of regular pick-up.

Sebastian businessman and resident Damien Gilliams has been pushing the city to make commercial recycling more accessible and attractive to city businesses. He has used northern communities as examples for the city to follow – explaining that there are programs that give businesses rewards based on the amount of recycling they have.

Gilliams told the council that it was “passing the buck” and “dropping the ball” for not requiring its solid waste franchise holders to make such programs available.

He reminded the council that they have often spoke favorably about being and going “green” and that this would be an opportunity to do just that.

Minner took issue with the characterization that the city’s staff has not reached out to Waste Management.

“There are lots of working pieces,” Minner said.

More data needs to be collected and analyzed regarding new state laws that will go into effect for recycling, identifying waste streams and working to reduce those sources of waste.

“They’re taking some time,” he said.

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