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Lee County has taken a leading role in environmental protection

April 19, 2013
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

To the editor:

April 21-24 Lee County will host the 21st annual North American Waste-to Energy Conference (NAWTEC) at the Sanibel Marriott Resort. This conference is expected to attract over 200 professionals from the United States and other countries and is one of the leading forums for a worldwide industry that focuses on recovering energy from municipal solid waste. Among the highlights for NAWTEC attendees will be tours of the award-winning Lee County Integrated Resource Recovery System.

As Earth Day approaches on April 22, it is appropriate to take note of some of the many ways in which Lee County plays a leading role in demonstrating a healthy respect for our planet and our environment. Lee County's Waste Recovery System recorded many notable achievements in 2012:

Lee County was recently named as having the second best recycling rate in the State.

The Waste to Energy Facility (WTE) generated more than 300,000 megawatt-hours of clean, renewable electricity, enough to power about 30,000 homes.

The Materials Recycling Facility is on track to process more than 100,000 tons of recyclable materials this year; a huge record for this facility.

A milestone was reached in March when the WTE facility processed its 8 millionth ton of waste from Lee and Hendry counties since start-up in August 1994.

The success of Lee County's solid waste recovery system would not have been possible without the active support and participation of Lee County businesses and citizens. Only twenty-two years ago there were few days when one couldn't read the paper or watch the local news without seeing and hearing controversy about the planned incinerator. Yet now, almost two decades after start-up, the system is quietly humming along recovering more recyclable materials and generating renewable electricity with a clean environmental record and one of the most affordable fee structures in the State.

The energy and material recovery systems are cooperatively operated and maintained by Covanta Energy, Inc., ReCommunity LLC, and Lee County government. It is heartening to recognize a system envisioned twenty-plus years ago that has risen to be recognized as one of the best in the land.

The attention of a worldwide industry will now be on Lee County, and we are deserving of such notable recognition.

Tom Mueller

Fort Myers



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