Residents of North Port, FL, a city in southern Sarasota County, have raised concerns about a proposed transfer station that would be built within the city’s limits. The most vocal opponents are those who reside near sites that have been considered for location of the transfer station. Current design plans call for a 20-acre site that would receive trash and recycling from all over the city.
The city currently hauls all of its trash to a far away landfill located elsewhere in Sarasota County. This costs the city millions of dollars every year in order to pay for fuel and man-hours involved with hauling all of that trash outside of the city. City managers believe that a collection site located nearby would dramatically reduce the costs of waste disposal.
A transfer station is different from a landfill in that it only collects the trash, instead of storing it. Many cities across the country utilize transfer stations to reduce spending on waste management services. Savings primarily come from having shorter haul times and less labor involved with collecting waste. The trash deposited at the transfer station can then be loaded up and hauled to an actual landfill with larger trucks owned by contracted trash hauling companies.
Even with all of the perceived benefits, residents oppose the idea of having large amounts of trash in their backyards. One resident has already started a petition and collected over 200 signatures opposing the station’s construction. Their concerns are raised by the fact that each design proposal has the site located within a mile of residential neighborhoods. The city argues that this is necessary to reap the benefits of having a transfer station close to their garbage trucks. It also reduces the cost substantially since the site can use already existing utilities. If the transfer station were to be built outside of the city, construction costs would rise in order to connect the site to plumbing and electrical infrastructures.
Despite the opposition, the city’s plans for a transfer station are still in the exploration stage. The Sarasota suburb is currently paying for a study to assess the advantages of having a local trash collection site. The results of that study could pull the issue in either direction.