Beginning in February, residents will no longer have curbside recycling collection in Mount Dora. Here are the answers to frequently asked questions about the new trash collection and recycling process:
What’s the change? All recyclable and non-recyclable waste collected at the curb in Mount Dora will now be transported to a private Waste-to-Energy Plant (WTE) that incinerates waste to generate electricity for the company to sell.
Residents will no longer wash or separate recycling products from their other household waste, but will continue to use both garbage and recycling carts to use for the combined trash.
Why is Mount Dora making the shift? Over the last few years, circumstances have resulted in the cost for recyclable materials to significantly increase, according to the City. Specifically, China, the largest buyer of U.S. recyclable materials, established a new quality specification of 0.3% contamination by weight for any imported waste paper. The prior standard had been 10% contamination. Other countries followed suit with similar specifications for cleanliness of materials, which drove the processing costs up.
The increased cost in traditional recycling processing, along with a low resale value, have made recycling very costly. According to the City, Mount Dora City Council agreed to stop curbside recycling collection to avoid a fee increase to Mount Dora's residential customers.
ABOVE: Hierarchy of Waste Management (graphic by Brown University Earth Institute)
Is incinerating trash environmentally friendly? Incinerating waste in compliance with current government regulations, reportedly emits less greenhouse gases than the carbon dioxide and methane gas created by landfills. However, Mount Dora's recyclable waste was previously destined for Chinese recycling, rather than a landfill. Recycling is the most environmentally friendly form of waste management, according to Brown University's Earth Institute and the "Hierarchy of Waste Management", a standard used to rank waste strategies according to their environmental impact. Where is the WTE plant located? All the materials residents set out at the curb will be transported to the Covanta Waste-to-Energy (WTE) plant in Okahumpka. Every year, that facility processes more than 167,000 tons of waste, which produces 14 megawatts of electricity 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - enough to power 8,100 homes for a year. That is a general reference and those homes are not in Mount Dora.
How does this change benefit the City of Mount Dora? According to the City, the change avoids a cost increase to customers caused by a rise in cost of traditional recycling processing services. Also, under new State of Florida guidelines, a 50% recycling credit is provided to the City of Mount Dora government for the trash being converted to energy at the WTE plant. This credit is higher than that of the average traditional recycling programs in Florida, according to the City.
Is traditional recycling still available? Anyone who wants to continue traditional recycling can bring their recyclable waste to the downtown Mount Dora recycling compactors or any of the Lake County Drop-off recycling sites. The following is a list of the downtown Mount Dora recycling compactors:
City parking lot at southwest corner of E. 5th Ave. and N. Baker St. (400 block of N Baker St.)
City parking lot at northeast corner of E. 3rd Ave. and N. Donnelly St. (300 block of N Donnelly St)
City parking lot at northeast corner of W. 4th Ave. and Alexander St. (400 block of Alexander St.)
Do I need to do anything different on trash day? No. Collection days will not change. The City is recommending residents utilize both carts for all materials. It does not matter if customers mix materials in the carts.
How does this change affect disposing of yard debris? It doesn't. The days of collection and separation of yard trash remain the same.
Residents with other questions can contact the City of Mount Dora at 352-735-7151 For more news and events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, this month, click here. Discover the area's online event calendar here. Also download the area's free mobile app.