For more than 30 years, Recycle Florida Today has served as the premier professional SWPLA association among individuals engaged in the industry of recycling in Florida. Founded in 1990, four women – Barbara Heineken, Mary Cummings, Kathy Kelley, and Teresa Shiflett answered the call to unite those interested in the industry and profession of recycling in Barbara’s kitchen. The literal round table effort eventually formed Recycle Florida Today, Inc.
At the time, the driving force was to establish an organization aside from the issues of solid and hazardous waste and focus more on recycling and environmental sustainability efforts. The State had recently passed the 1998 Florida Solid Waste Management Act and many professionals were faced with having to implement supportive programs and educate the public and governing bodies with few and limited resources.
The early focus was geared towards providing open forums where such professionals could network and educate each other on best practices, share resources, and provide a means of communication with like-minded individuals. The group also included special interest in organics recycling with the establishment of the Florida Organics Recycling Association (FORA), which later became the Organics Recycling Committee (ORC).
From there, the association grew its educational outreach with the start of the Issues Forum. The Issues Forum served as a one-day educational workshop to encourage idea-sharing and networking on special topics of interest. The organization has maintained a solid foundation over the years with approximately 185 – 200 professional members, seven committees and expanded programs that now include an extended annual summer conference to build upon educational opportunity offerings such as Environmental Lunch and Learn Series (ELLS) events, webinars, social media engagement, a robust newsletter and other member training opportunities.
The focus continued in education and engagement while providing a forum for public, private, and non-profit recyclers to mutually discuss and leverage recycling opportunities. The organization assist members in expanding professional skills and advancing SWPLA programs and systems through educational resources and to provide a place to exchange ideas and technical knowledge.
In 2020, we celebrated our 30th anniversary. Today, the SWPLA programs and advocacy is more important than ever as the industry has changed and continues to evolve with each passing year. By joining, you will be connecting with a professional network of industry leaders to contribute to the growth and sustainability of the organization’s Vision as well as assist in accomplishing our mission. “Recycle Florida Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow!”