Escambia County, ECUA Reach Potential Recycling, Garbage Agreement

July 31, 2014

A potential garbage and recycling agreement between Escambia County and the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority is on the table for discussion.

The agreement was brokered and announced by State Rep. Clay Ingram after a series of meeting with both sides.

“Like many of my constituents, I am both an Escambia County taxpayer as well as an ECUA rate-payer and see this proposed partnership as a true win-win scenario.  If adopted, the partnership will protect the financial well-being of the Escambia County Solid Waste Enterprise Fund, help control ECUA’s costs, and will result in the creation of 120-220 new jobs,” Ingram said. “This partnership would also have the positive effect of bringing to a halt the involvement of the courts in matters between Escambia County and ECUA.”

After the flooding, closure and bankruptcy of West Florida Recycling in Pensacola, ECUA recently entered into a two year agreement with the Infinitus Energy Park (IREP) in Montgomery. ECUA earns $10 per ton for single stream recyclables trucked to Montgomery — enough for the transportation and a net profit of a few dollars per ton.

The potential agreement brokered by Ingram would see a private company construct a similar facility in Escambia County — both the county and ECUA have acknowledged the lack of financial capacity to build and operate such a facility themselves.

Under the draft agreement:

  • ECUA and Escambia County would work to reach the state’s 75 percent recycling goal reducing disposal costs and solid waste collection and extend the life of the Perdido Landfill.
  • The regulatory and permitting authority over sold waste in Escambia County would remain with the county and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
  • Escambia County and the ECUA would agree to eliminate or drop all legal challenges and regulatory and operational impediments via action by the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) and/or the ECUA Board.
  • A public/private partnership will be developed utilizing the most viable technology to advance the practice of recycling in Escambia County and the  surrounding region via an advanced mixed materials recycling facility (AMMRF). The AMMRF would be located in Escambia County, along with the  120-220 jobs it will provide.
  • The selected private vendor would determine the most feasible and economically advantageous site on which to construct the AMMRF within Escambia County.  Sites will be suggested by the county and ECUA, and the final site will be  selected by the private contractor based on sound business considerations.
  • Escambia County and the ECUA agree to allow the project to proceed without legal challenges. The facility would be entirely funded by the private vendor, with no capital, operating or property acquisition expenditures from the county or ECUA. This means there would be no cost to either the County or the ECUA.  The estimated $35-$50 million investment for the property and the AMMRF will be the sole responsibility of the private vendor.
  • Escambia County and ECUA agree that monies required for Escambia County programs that were previously funded through tipping fees at the Perdido Landfill would be provided through operating cost savings at the Perdido  Landfill, host fees paid by the vendor for all tonnage delivered to the AMMRF  for processing, the economic benefits from property taxes and jobs created at the facility, and a reasonable increase in the existing commercial waste franchise fees and/or a new franchise fee on residential solid waste collection.
  • An appropriately sized Perdido Landfill would continue to be operated by Escambia County to accept residue from the AMMRF, bulk waste, special waste,  and other materials that cannot be processed at the AMMRF.
  • There will be an interlocal agreement between Escambia County and the ECUA to support the public/private partnership. The county would remain  responsible for disposal of solid waste; the ECUA would be responsible for collection of solid waste, and the private company would be responsible for  construction, operation and all of the costs associated with the AMMRF. The  ECUA and the county would guarantee their waste streams would be delivered to the AMMRF for processing. Any residue would be disposed of at the Perdido Landfill.
  • The private sector partner will be selected and the contractual details negotiated as expeditiously as possible.
  • Other agencies in adjoining counties and states would be encouraged to utilize the facility with a host fee applied to the tonnage that is processed at the facility. The host fee would be received by Escambia County.

The proposed agreement is expected to go before the Escambia County Commission on August 12 and the ECUA Board on August 28.

“Speedy adoption of the proposal is imperative as interests from outside of the region have shown intent to build a recycling facility here without participation from either  party, which would have a devastating financial impact on our community. I am excited about  the spirit of cooperation exemplified by both parties for the good of our community and look forward to working together to seeing the project completed,” Ingram said.


4 Responses to “Escambia County, ECUA Reach Potential Recycling, Garbage Agreement”

  1. Ann on October 15th, 2016 7:22 pm

    How do we recycle? Do we put newspapers, coke cans, etc. in the recycle tan garbage can to be picked up or do we put them in bags and THEN put it in the tan garbage can to be picked up?

  2. William on July 31st, 2014 8:20 am

    >Will someone define, “…single stream recyclables…” which are being trucked to Montgomery, AL.?

    Single stream means all the paper, plastic, metal, etc. are mixed together in the same truck….just like we all dump them into our recycling containers for ECUA to pick up.

    It’s all hauled mixed together to Montgomery, where it is then sorted by machines and people.

    Those jobs would be created in Escambia County if this agreement works and a private company is found to build a facility here.

  3. Walnut Hill Roy on July 31st, 2014 8:11 am

    I took the same meaning from the article as Bob C, are we now paying a group of people to go through and separate the recyclables before sending them on a truck ride? The follow on question would be whether we are then burying part of the recyclables at the standard rate to bury items?

  4. Bob C on July 31st, 2014 6:45 am

    Will someone define, “…single stream recyclables…” which are being trucked to Montgomery, AL.?

    When I think of “single stream” it means to me one type of product such as only plastic milk cartons.

    Sounds like it is not a mixed product like the plastic milk cartons and aluminum cans and newspapers in the same truck.

    Thank you….