Solid Waste Master Plan Summary of May 13, 2019 Regional Sub-Committee Workshop

The purpose of the workshop was to provide the Regional Sub-Committee with the results of earlier Master Plan planning tasks, and to obtain feedback on the goals and strategies to include in the Solid Waste Master Plan.

In addition to County staff, representatives from the Cities of Clearwater and Dunedin attended the workshop. The remaining members of the Regional Sub-committee were unable to attend.

Regional Cooperation:

  • Those in attendance are interested in participating in the “Regional Partners Committee” to remain current as to what is being discussed with surrounding counties and are supportive of those discussions.
  • Aversion to swap shop style operations was expressed. Swap shop are operations where materials and items are displayed for the public to take, typically for free while also allowing customers to leave items for others. :
    • Can lead to more problems, and potential liability issues due to the public interaction nature of the operation. These interactions can include customer to customer disputes, assurances as to the functionality or operability of materials, safety of customers and/or injury when handling materials. ;
    • Space is needed for dropping off and loading.
  • Promoting waste reduction and leading by example is favorable.

Collection and Transfer:

  • Pay as you throw (PAYT) is a tougher sell right now because current recycling goal is not to increase recycling volume but rather increase recycling content quality (reduced contamination)
  • Organics is an active topic, particularly food scraps:
    • Clearwater:
      • Continues to come up in conversations.
      • Seen as the next area to conquer but we need processing capability and capacity.
      • Favor talking with wastewater treatment plants regarding anaerobic digestion process.
    • Dunedin:
      • Does not have large businesses/industry asking for organics (food scraps) collection.
      • Restaurants are doing it on their own.
      • Would just leave the residences as an opportunity for food scraps diversion
  • There is municipal interest in a transfer station in the north of the County:
    • It is understood it would be on a cost recovery basis (would have to pay to use it).
    • A transfer station in the north of the County was previously envisioned in the 1980’s. However, the property envisioned for the transfer station was developed and is no longer available to site a transfer station.
    • Would benefit Dunedin and others in the north of the County, such as Tarpon Springs. Would result in less time on route and more self-haul options to the north of the County.
    • Clearwater is on board with the idea if we can get on same page with others and can feed/fund the transfer station.
  • Dunedin has been actively working on educating citizens on the solid waste rate ($22 per month), by breaking down the costs for each aspect included (i.e., collection, transportation, processing, etc.). They have also been actively working on educating citizens that recycling is not free and involves a third party to collect, transfer and haul to Manatee County to process. They are trying to include the information in utility billing since there will be a six percent disposal rate increase for next three years or more.
  • Representatives in attendance would be in favor of recycling glass outside of curbside programs.
    • Residents want to recycle glass
    • Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) don’t want it
    • Strategic Materials, Inc. does want it
    • Glass ordinance potential
    • Need consistency
    • Need to discuss what pulling glass out of curbside programs would mean for municipalities (e.g. education, participation, tonnage impacts)
  • Dunedin is not collecting electronics at the curb as part of basic service.
    • Charging a convenience fee to collect.
    • Having a north site would help with this.
  • Need to ease people’s concern regarding combustion of electronics and air quality controls.
  • Dunedin provides collection services to approximately 1,700 unincorporated customers.
    • These unincorporated customers sought the City to take them on as customers
    • Was on an HOA basis, but now is based on individual residences
    • Dunedin includes an 11 percent surcharge to these unincorporated customers.
  • If the County moves forward with franchising in the unincorporated area, Dunedin would like a sufficient advance notice, such as three years.
  • Clearwater does not service the unincorporated customers. They require them to become incorporated.


  • It was noted that having a centralized public MRF could be capacity driven, not cost driven.
  • Part of regional cooperation with surrounding jurisdictions could include recyclables processing capacity (representatives in attendance did not oppose).
  • Clearwater is moving forward with the design of a building to cover its existing transfer station for recyclables, but not currently moving forward with designing it as a MRF as They are first waiting on the County’s plan. Current building design would be able to accommodate equipment if that is added but square footage was unknown as well as potential processing capacity for the space.
  • Support for the County making the most of the WTE facility.


  • Favored improving traffic flow at the Disposal Complex.
  • Supported expanding capacity of the landfill for future use.
  • Supported the County exploring the possibilities of out-of-county processing or disposal for certain items, which would require a transfer station at the Disposal Complex, and mutual aid agreements with other jurisdictions.
  • It was noted that the TMC would be informed and/or involved with these kinds of decisions.

Residuals Reuse and End Markets:

  • Supported strategies to develop more advanced metals cleaning, whether at the Disposal Complex or regional.
  • Supported strategies to develop ash recycling/reuse whether in-County only or with regional cooperation with other Tampa Bay Area WTE plants.
  • Support a strategy to identify out-of-county options for ash disposal.

Flow and Management of Waste:

  • Supported strategies to consider expanding flow control beyond municipal solid waste or expanding licensing in the unincorporated area.
  • Favored exploring the use of Toytown landfill for solid waste operations (in-vessel composting was mentioned as a potential use).
  • Supported the strategy to monitor contiguous property to the Disposal Complex for potential future purchase and use for solid waste operations.

Other General Comments:

  • It was noted that a more diverse public workshop audience would have been helpful, because of the need to reach more than those already interested in solid waste.
  • There is support for standardizing and expanding recycling education efforts.
  • Dunedin has completed a survey of its citizens on all services.
    • Overall, Dunedin residents are in support of standardizing recycling and collection efforts, expanding recycling education efforts, and are willing to support and pay for new programs.