Sunshine State Sustainability: Pioneering Waste Management in Florida

Waste management in Florida

As we all know, the planet’s resources are limited.

Waste management is one of the most important contributions humanity can make to reduce its impact on the planet and preserve biodiversity. In Florida, waste management policy has established a hierarchy, the aim of which is to avoid producing waste, through prevention and reuse. Despite this, in Florida each year, 46 million tons of waste are produced, 6.9 tons of waste per inhabitant.

It is therefore essential to move to a circular economy in Florida, which limits waste and waste production.

Main principles governing waste management

The priority objective of the waste prevention and management policy is to prevent and reduce the production and harmfulness of waste. For existing waste, the hierarchy of treatment methods is as follows:

  1. Preparation for reuse
  2. Recycling
  3. Any other recovery, in particular energy recovery
  4. Elimination

This hierarchy reflects the main objectives of the Floridian waste prevention and management policy, in particular:

  • Prioritize prevention and reduction of waste production, including dumpster rentals
  • Fight against planned obsolescence of manufactured products through consumer information
  • Develop reuse and increase the quantity of waste prepared for reuse
  • Strive towards the objective of 100% recycled plastic by January 1, 2028
  • Gradually extend sorting instructions to all plastic packaging throughout the country
  • Reduce food waste

Waste management must respect the principle of proximity, which consists of managing waste as close as possible to its place of production.

Waste: useful definitions

Waste is defined as any substance or object, or more generally any movable property, which the holder discards or which he intends or is obliged to discard (waste definition). Waste management is defined as the collection, transport, recovery and elimination of waste.

More broadly, waste management concerns any activity involved in the organization of the management of waste from its production to its final treatment. This includes waste trading or brokerage activities. The waste producer is defined as any person whose activity produces waste (initial waste producer).

This may also concern any person who carries out waste treatment operations leading to a change in the nature or composition of this waste (subsequent producer of waste). The waste holder is defined as the producer of the waste or any other person who is in possession of the waste.

The notions of prevention, reuse, collection, treatment, reuse, preparation for reuse, recycling, recovery, elimination are also defined in the legislation of waste management in Florida.

Waste management: who is responsible

Any producer or holder of waste is responsible for managing the waste until its final elimination or recovery. The producer or holder of the waste is responsible for its management even if it is transferred to a third party for processing purposes, such as dumpster rental company.

Residents and businesses can use these dumpster rental services, so that their waste is properly treated and sent to the correct destination, including recycling facilities if the junk is recyclable. In particular if this waste is hazardous, then specialized services are required to avoid endangering the environment.

In application of the definitions of the notions of producer and holder of waste, those responsible for waste management are:

  • the initial producer: any person whose activity produces waste
  • the subsequent producer: any person who carries out waste treatment operations leading to a change in the nature or composition of this waste
  • any other person who is in possession of the waste

The waste liability regime is very extensive. Thus, a person who owns land where waste is stored can be considered a “waste holder”. As such, the owner of a site may be liable in particular in the event of negligence with regard to waste stored on his land. Sometimes it is difficult to identify who is responsible. In this case, you can contact an environmental law lawyer in Florida.