Published On: Mon, May 10th, 2021

Renewable Energy Powers Palm Beach County

Today, Palm Beach County boasts the cleanest and greenest waste to energy power plant in the nation, according to the Solid Waste Authority (SWA) of Palm Beach County. Renewable Energy Facility 2 can combust a million tons of post-recycled municipal solid waste annually. The first waste to energy facility was built in 1989 and renovated in 2000. These two facilities produce enough energy to power the homes in Boca Raton and Palm Beach Gardens as well as powering the buildings in the Renewable Energy Park.  

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REF 2 (Renewable Energy Facility 2) is estimated to reduce waste going into the SWA landfill by up to 90% ensuring that the landfill has a usage lifespan until 2045. At capacity REF 2 can process up to 3000 tons of waste a day – roughly more than 660 curb side trucks worth of trash a day!

Mass Burn Facility

REF 2 is a mass burn facility. Unlike REF 1, where municipal solid waste is processed into a refuse-derived fuel, solid waste is unloaded directly into the pit which can hold up to 21,000 tons of waste at a time. From this point the waste is fed into one of three steam generators. Each steam generator can process up to 1,000 tons of waste daily. This superheated steam in turn drives a turbine generator to produce clean, renewable energy. 

After the incineration process up to 90% of ferrous metals and 85% of nonferrous metals can be recovered from the ashes, recovering an estimated 27,000 tons of steel aluminium, copper and other metals annually. 

“We recommend residents use their old garbage bin for loose yard waste.” Wilie Puz, director of public affairs and recycling of SWA told The Palm Beach Post. The director noted that the Solid Waste Authority is working with homeowner’s associations, senior populations and those with physical limitations to provide them with smaller carts which will be changed on a case-by-case basis after three months. 

Yellow-and-Blue Recycling Program

Recyclables like cardboard, paper items, newspapers and mail should go into the yellow recycling bins while the blue bins are reserved for plastic bottles, cans and cartons. 

Plastic bottles going into the blue bin should be 2 gallons or less and have the lids on. Cartons should have lids and drink boxes should contain no pouches. Glass bottles and jars should have their lids off. 

Items going into the yellow bin should comply with the following: cardboard should be cut and flattened (no bigger than 24 x 24 inches), no plastic bags on newspapers and dry food boxes and pizza boxes should have no food stains. 

Foam, medical sharps, shredded paper, lightbulbs, napkins, plastic utensils and straws should not be placed in the recycling containers.

Resident Collection Guidelines in Boca Raton

As per the city of Boca Raton the following collection guidelines apply.

  • All garbage must be bagged and tied before placing inside the bin and placed curb side by 7:00 AM on collection days.
  • No hazardous materials are to be placed in the dumpster.
  • Overloaded containers or items in non-City containers will not be collected.
  • City-issued containers must be placed on the edge of the curb with the bar on the front facing the street side. The automated arm will not collect inaccessible containers. 
  • Containers should be at least 5 feet away from other containers, bulk material, vegetation, trees, mailboxes, utility poles, parked cars, recycle bins or other obstacles. 
  • Do not place the container under tree branches or wires. 
  • Bulk items that are not separated from vegetation will not be collected.
  • Dumpster must be removed from the swale within 12 hours of collection.
  • The City is not responsible for the clean-up of improper disposal of liquids like paint and oil.
  • Containers are the property of Boca Raton. 
  • Containers must remain at the current address even if you move. Do not switch containers with neighbouring ones as each container is numbered and assigned a specific address. 

Being more “green” through dumpster rentals:

Dumpster rental in Boca Raton is something that can be arranged with ease. Sometimes it requires permits, depending on local regulations. Permits for temporary dumpsters usually apply when you don’t have a private driveway to place the roll-off container. Placing a dumpster on the sidewalk, street, public property, common property or municipal property may necessitate the need for a permit.

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