published: Friday, August 31, 2012
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING -- County commissioners discussed the future of solid waste management in Highlands County during Tuesday evening's regular meeting.
Ramon Gavarette, county engineer, presented the board with a unique project led by a business out of Ireland known as Green Globe LLC.
Green Globe representative Jerry Farmer spoke to the commissioners throughout a presentation that described the history and background of the company.
The company is a recycling company that works to produce energy by using solid waste.
"We are set on providing energy and recovery. We want to replicate what we do in Europe," Farmer began.
The hour-long presentation showed a number of ideas and techniques that Green Globe uses to create energy from waste. Green Globe aims to extract energy from the waste streams being sent to landfills in North America.
"Using advanced technology and techniques, Green Globe will manufacture a Solids Recovered Fuel (SRF) from the unrecyclable fraction of processed waste," Farmer said.
The SRF will be used as a fossil fuel replacement by cement manufacturers in North America, according to Farmer.
Green Globe's statistics show that throughout North America, 54 percent of waste goes to landfills, 13 percent is recycled and the remaining percentage (approximately 33 percent) is incinerated. In Highlands County, by comparison, 88 percent of waste is thrown in landfills and 12 percent is recycled.
Green Globe's proposal for Highlands County, which includes acquiring space at the landfill to develop a factory, were highlighted in Farmer's presentation and are as follows:
-- Treatment of incoming solid waste at an agreed per-ton gate fee
-- 60 percent recycling and diversion
-- 40 percent residual material sent to the Highlands County landfill
-- An income share on recovered materials
-- Highlands County achieves increased recycling rates at no additional costs
-- Reduction of costs associated with future landfill development
The Green Globe organization believes several good things could come from the project, including 35 projected local employees, financial gains over the next 10 years, reduction of landfill costs and sustainability.
"What is the expense on Highlands County side?" asked Commissioner Don Elwell.
Gavarette and Farmer assured Elwell and the commission that no further costs will be incurred if this project is put into place.
"We expect that taxpayers of Highlands County will not have an expense to be able to bring in Green Globe to the county," Gavarette said.
According to Gavarette, the company will absorb the costs of the project, including the development plan, permits, engineering and several other aspects.
"The land is the only thing the county will provide, but it will be owned by Green Globe," Gavarette stated. "I want to make it very clear that the county will not be giving any funding in the development of this project."
The proposal for Green Globe includes land under a 10-year contract. Gavarette believes the company will seek a renewable clause.
Farmer is expecting a profit share with the county anywhere between $300,000 and $500,000 on a yearly basis, if the project goes forward.
Currently, the county's solid waste operations costs are at $7 million. Gavarette stated again that the county won't spend more than it currently does.
More concerns were voiced toward the end of the discussion, mainly from Commissioner Barbara Stewart.
"They're so many places around the state that have higher volumes (waste). Why wouldn't you look there?" Stewart asked.
Farmer stated that though there are several other locations that were looked at throughout the state of Florida, the tonnage was unavailable for use due to it being contracted out to incinerators or other landfills.
Commissioners told Gavarette and Farmer to come up with more research and projections before moving forward with the approval of the Green Globe project. Gavarette was given a two- to three-week window in which to bring back the information to the board. The date for the information, as well as Request for Proposals for recycling companies, is Sept. 18.
Farmer assured the commission that no outside waste would enter Highlands County and that the 35 expected positions would all come from the local community.
Stewart had one final thought about the proposed project on the table Tuesday night.
"I strongly urge you to be extremely cautious. I've sat here for the last eight years and have seen the county be so quick to grab at solutions without getting into deep details. Please, please don't rush in," Stewart said.
Names mean a lot... (by: Ray Napper - 8/31/2012)
as in their name is actually Green Globe Resources LLC and not just Green Globe LLC. Two entirely different companies it seems. Oh well I needed some way to waste/use 3 hours of my day on researching the wrong company...thanks sam...lol
Green Globe (by: Bill Compton - 8/31/2012)
Who is Green Globe, has anyone working for the County done a comprehensive financial analysis of this company? Has to County checked a wide variety of references?
Red flag to me when someone says," it will Save you money" (by: W - 8/31/2012)
Take the time and go inspect any California city or county recycling programs. See for yourselves how much it costs them to provide recycling to their customers. Ask them what happens when you have 'no buyers' for the recycle materials that you have stacked and stored around the yard that is attracting rodents and all kinds of creepy things. It costs for trucks - containers - storage drop boxes and areas to place them in - manpower to separate all the recycle materials - equipment - plastic containers for all residents and commercial building - there is not enough space here to name all the necessary items you will need.
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