June 19, 2017

ROB O'NEAL/The Citizen
Commercial recycling is currently voluntary and less than 50 percent of Key West businesses participate.

ROB O'NEAL/The Citizen Commercial recycling is currently voluntary and less than 50 percent of Key West businesses participate.

The Key West Utilities Department will propose implementing a mandatory commercial recycling plan to the City Commission later this summer.

Commercial recycling is currently voluntary and less than 50 percent of Key West businesses participate. The mandatory implementation reflects long-term goals set forth in the city’s 2012 Solid Waste Master Plan, according to Solid Waste Coordinator Dee Dee Green.

“We are just working on putting together an outline of dates and targets and we’re going to go to the board in August with a proposal,” Green said.

Of the city’s 1,082 commercial solid waste accounts, 464 also feature a recycling program.

“Most don’t use it and it’s two-thirds cheaper to use the recycling over garbage,” Green said.

Many businesses use other means such as hauling their own recycling to the transfer station or using delivery trucks to take recycling to the mainland, Green said.

The recycling program is mandatory for residents but businesses can obtain dumpsters and cans at various rates depending on size and number of pickups, according to city documents.

Pricing will remain at current rates when the mandatory program is implemented, according to Green.

Businesses currently enrolled in the program have reported savings exceeding $10,000 annually, she said.

“It’s a lot of money that can be saved and it’s good for the long run.”

The department is researching different city recycling plans to see what aspects should be included in the Key West plan, Green said.

“We’re looking for an in-writing mandatory plan and trying to choose from different (cities) that do it,” she said.

Other plans for the proposal include public workshops to gather feedback and training sessions with businesses to teach employees what can and can’t be recycled, Green said.

sunger@keysnews.com