The Citrus County Division of Solid Waste Management announced Thursday that an expanded recycling center has been opened at its central landfill.
The Citrus County Central Landfill is adding 18 eight-yard containers to accommodate for traffic caused by the closing of unmanned recycling centers.
This announcement came just one day after the Division of Solid Waste Management announced its second phase of recycling center closures in Citrus County.
The first phase closed three centers, and phase two will close six more by April 3.
Eventually, all 15 of the county’s unmanned sites will be closed, according to Citrus County Division of Solid Waste Management Public Information Officer Cynthia Oswald.
“The reason the board chose to close all the public drop-off centers was mainly because of all the illegal dumping,” Citrus County Solid Waste Director Henry Norris Jr. said.
Norris noted the sites themselves are unstaffed, and a few of the sites were becoming contaminated with garbage. When this happens, the recycler handles the contamination under an agreement with the Division of Solid Waste Managment.
“The problem is, it drives up the cost of recycling,” Norris said.
Fines were recently increased for those taking part in illegal dumping, climbing to up to $500 per offense. As far as how they’re catching those who are dumping illegally, Norris said the Sherriff’s department plays a role.
According to Norris, solid waste management may add even more to the 18 new containers placed on the Citrus County Central Landfill property.
“We’re going to actually see how that goes going forward,” Norris said. “If we need to add more containers we will.”
Because the Citrus County Division of Solid Waste Management runs 15 of the unmanned cites, the plan is to remove them in three phases.
“We’re closing the worst offenders, if you will,” Norris said. “First, the ones that are receiving all the contamination.”
According to Norris, the idea is to eliminate all of the contamination.
Although commercial haulers that operate throughout Citrus County offer curbside recycling, the county itself does not have recycling trucks. According to Norris, it’s up to the residents to choose which hauler they wish to use.
Norris estimated around 60 percent of residents in Citrus County utilize a commercial hauler, while the remaining residents either do not recycle or come to the landfill to drop off their materials.
Citrus County resident Kevin Strom has been recycling at Citrus County solid waste management facilities for 12 years and is uneasy about the closing of unmanned facilities.
“I use them all the time, they’re really convenient,” Strom said. “That doesn’t really make sense to me why they would close something that doesn’t require employees’ time and labor.”
The expanded recycling center at the Central Landfill is located approximately 50 yards west of the main driveway and traffic light.