December, 2012 – A Trip to Solid Waste Authority


Living GreenBryan Hayes

A Trip to Solid Waste Authority

By Bryan Hayes

“You are going where?”  My friend asked. 

I responded with a smile.  “To the Solid Waste Authority.”  I explained with great enthusiasm.   “I’m taking a tour.”  

I was led to the Solid Waste Authority by way of the Food Truck Invasion at the Wellington Amphitheater.  What a great event.   Wellington has a way of being very innovative in finding ways to bolster local businesses and the community to come together in a fun way for all.

While there, my main priority was to see the new recycling bins that were being placed at the Wellington Amphitheater as part of the pilot public space recycling program.   I did, and was happy to see them so easily accessible.  You can find the recycling bins at Scott’s Place barrier-free playground, the Wellington Amphitheater, the village Park, the Tiger Shark Cove Park, and the Wellington Environmental Preserve at the Majory Stoneman Douglas Everglades Habitat.  

recycling_bins-1The more people who know about the bins, and more importantly the more people use these bins, then the more likely there will be more.   It takes just as much effort to throw your empty water bottle (and other recyclable materials) into the garbage as it does into the recycle bin and the benefit of recycling is exponential.    Did you realize that as Americans we go through 2.5 million plastic bottles in just one hour?    That is a lot of plastic, and I wanted to find out what happens to that plastic after it goes into the recycle bin.  

While taking a tour of the Solid Waste Authority, the first thing I noticed is the surrounding area, which is just beautiful.  The habitat is maintained in its natural state with careful observation of the wildlife to ensure that they are not being threatened.   Along the way, I even made a new friend in the form of a 7 foot alligator that we saw.

And while the wildlife and even the alligator were all quite impressive, I really enjoyed the opportunity to see all the work that goes into eliminating our garbage in the most positive manner and seeing exactly how the process of recycling works.   In terms of the garbage it is pretty simple; it is either burned or buried.     And, do you realize that “every day, the SWA gets 6 million pounds of garbage.   This is enough to cover an entire football field nine feet high.”  

What was the most impressive for me is how cutting edge the SWA is with the recycling.    It is advanced technology coupled with individuals who have the brain power and desire to continue making positive strides for the community.   

The recycling program in Palm Beach County is completely voluntary so it is a community effort.   So far, the SWA has recycled more than two million tons of residential and commercial material.    The residential program offers curbside service, while the commercial program has two options:  to have their recycling materials picked up or dropped off at the more than 150 drop off locations.


Since we are getting into the holiday season, there is a lot of waste.   By recycling, what could be buried or burned can instead be reused.   So, whether you own a business or are someone who personally would like to know more about the recycling program, contact the Solid Waste Authority at the following phone number: (8666) New Bins, or you can go online at to get more information.


Bryan Hayes is an actor, amateur photographer, business consultant and full-time lover of all things living.  To check out more from Bryan Hayes, please visit his blog at: