Sunday, July 26, 2009

CASE STUDY: Florida's Progressive Environmental Programs

By Ronnie W Tanner

The Sunshine State has long been known for its progressive social and ecological programs. From the Super Fund clean up initiative to their ambitious attempts to preserve the Everglades, Florida has consistently been on the front lines of the battle to preserve natural habitats.

Given their history, it should come as no surprise that Florida recently became one of the first states to promote a new monofilament recycling program, designed to prevent fishing lines and lures from entering the estuaries and oceans. By setting up disposal containers on beaches and piers, the state of Florida has created a safe and secure disposal site for excess fishing line.

The effects of fishing line can be deadly, from choking out fish populations to ensnaring Ospreys and other members of the avian family. Since the inception of Florida's aggressive recycling program other states, such as Maryland, have instituted their own monofilament recycling programs. Fishing line is just one of the many things being recycled in Florida, a new Sunshine State program has made it possible to recycle tires with 100% efficiency.

A new Florida company, Florida Tire Recycling, Inc. (FTR) has created a process by which they can reclaim, reuse and recycle 100% of America's used waste tires. In an interview with FTR, the said tires were called one of America's greatest sustainable resources. FTR uses the tires to create rubberized pellets, which can be melted and molded into a multitude of uses, from tennis shoes to bath mats, and all with zero landfill waste. These pellets can also be used to create the next generation of tires, furthering the cycle of reducing use and reusing waste. Tires aren't the only things being recycled on America's biggest peninsula, Florida's latest program has shocked a lot of people.

While it may sound like a process not for the squeamish, recycling solid waste is actually a very sanitary and necessary process in civic planning and environmental protection. Currently, Florida recycles about 24% of its solid waste, with a majority of their recycling programs being single stream programs. Single stream recycling is innovative in the fact that it allows users to mix plastic, glass and cardboard all in the same bin, without the need to separate it. Many communities are still using facilities which can not handle single stream recycling processes, and still require that the residents separate their trash into the three categories themselves.

Truly, Florida has long been one of the most forward-thinking states in terms of the ecological and environmental programs that they institute in order to protect the world we live in. We've already seen how much can happen when a single state steps up and sets and example for the rest of them. Perhaps it's all that coastal territory, but one way or another, they are continually ahead of the curve in terms of environmental policy and will hopefully continue to set a positive example for the other 49 US states.

Ronnie Tanner is a contributing writer at Florida junk yards. He writes about Salvage Yards in Florida and other industry specific topics.

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