Coral Springs Reports Slight Decrease in Recycling Contamination

By Paul Ploumis

Coral Springs’s attempt to go green is in the red.

The city released information Tuesday that recycling contamination rates declined from 36 percent from 2020, when they ended recycling, to only 35.3 percent since resuming in November 2021.

The data comes after the city performed an audit of recycled loads.

Contamination occurs when non-recyclable items end up in recycled loads, leading to increased processing costs and rejection at processing centers.

In May 2020, the city stopped sending recycled products to Waste Management. The city previously approved a contract with the company in 2018 to the company’s material recovery facility.

In August 2020, the city commission voted to redirect recycled loads to Wheelabrator, a waste-to-energy facility that converts waste to electricity.

At the time, Coral Springs’s contamination rate was above 36 percent, and the city faced rising recycling costs. The waste-to-energy option would save the city about $300,000 per fiscal year over traditional recycling.

But, city officials continued reviewing the market for trash and recycled goods, and in October 2021, the commission approved a new contract with Waste Management to resume recycling.

Traditional recycling returned on Nov. 1.

When the city suspended the contract with Waste Management, the value of materials processed at MRFs was $23/ton. By October 2021, the value rose to $107.37. With a processing cost of $120/ton, Coral Springs would save money.

At the same time, the city started the Recycle Right campaign, which was designed to teach residents about what can and cannot be recycled.

Further audits will occur in March and May when the city hopes that contamination rates will fall below 30 percent.