Republic Services is the recycling service provider for most of the Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra Beach areas. Their sorting facility on the northside of Jacksonville, completed in 2012, frequently hosts tours that are open to the public by appointment.
The tour begins in a conference room that overlooks the plant floor. While waiting for guests to arrive, visitors can read the informational signs posted around the room or watch the plant activity through the large windows.
Example of one of the informational signs:
- Glass bottles and jars are fun to reuse if you get a little creative!
- How long does it take glass to decompose in the environment?
- 1-2 Million Years
- The time it takes of the glass container to return to the store shelf from the time you place it in your recycling container is generally within 30 days.
Before the tour, a video is played that describes the recycling process as well as what is and isn’t acceptable at a recycling plant. After the video, the tour starts after reviewing some basic safety precautions. Each guest is outfitted with a safety vest and glasses to wear while inside the plant. Closed-toe shoes are a must to participate on the tour!
The tour takes guests along a network of platforms that snake around and above the machinery. The guide describes what is taking place (with workers and machinery) at various points along the path. Once the groups return to the conference room, a facility representative stays to answer any questions from guests.
Here are a few of the topics that were brought up during our tour:
- Bagging recyclables (recyclables that arrive in black plastic bags are sent immediately to the trash!)
- Plastic bags and straws (not recyclable)
- Acceptable items versus trash
- Aspirational recyclers
- Most desirable items (steel and aluminum cans!)
- Sale of bundled recycled items
Want some tips about what is accepted in a recycling facility versus what heads out with the trash? Watch this video.
It’s an amazingly eye-opening experience! For more info regarding tours, contact Tiffany at Republic Services.