Walton goes to major efforts to recycle


Mark Simmons and a small inmate crew have a simple system for recycling waste brought to the landfill. "I want to pull as much stuff as I can to keep it from being buried," he said.

Jennie McKeon
Published: Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 02:02 PM.

Without curbside pickup and just 30 recycling bins scattered throughout more than 1,200-square miles, Walton County recycled more than 1.5 million pounds of trash in 2013.

"We have crews at the landfill who work four days a week pulling anything that can be recycled and through different vendors we sell metals, plastics, cardboards, etc. for the going rate," said Louis Svehla, public information manager for Walton County . "We've tried a combination of different programs, but this one works well and is cost effective."

Down in the dumps

From household trash to the recycling that is dropped off at the blue bins, Walton County 's trash goes through a precise process before it's buried in the landfill.

As the landfill is situated just down the road from the jail in DeFuniak Springs, inmates provide most of the manpower to separate every last item that can be recycled or sold. Last year, the county made $141,112 by selling recyclables.

"It all goes in the general funds," Svehla explained. "The program saves money and landfill space."

The landfill is pretty organized for what is, essentially, a trash pile. A typical crew of four sorts household trash, takes apart electronics for metals — rainy day projects Svhela said — and sorts through the recycling that comes in.

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