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Brevard County Schools Polystyrene Recycling Study that Resulted in 26 Felony Violations




Did you know that Brevard County was the first school district to attempt a polystyrene recycling program in 1998? It resulted in two arrests for 26 felony environmental violations. Here is the timeline:

25 February 1998: Brevard County received a proposal from waste management regarding polystyrene recycling. They would use a machine the size of a small refrigerator to melt polystyrene (a foam used in the school's lunch program). The cost breakdown for these machines, education, maintenance, haulage, and recycling was $300,000. Brevard County was the first school district to attempt a completely closed-loop polystyrene recycling program.


8 May 1998: Innovative Recycling project contract is sent.


14 May 1998: Contact is signed.


10 June 1998: Brevard County Waste Management requests written approval from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to subcontract with Brevard County School Food Services.


22 June 1998: FDEP authorizes the county to purchase the polystyrene Recycling machines.


19 August 1998: FDEP sends a letter explaining hazardous waste regulations.


5 October 1998: Brevard County commissioners quarterly report showed they were awarded an innovative grant and put money towards the machines.

18 December 1998: Brevard County commissioner's second quarterly report showed invoices for the innovative grant were paid. This document also shows the schools throughout the county that they used for this case study.


January 1999: A letter is sent requesting a stop payment of $109,582.60 after the school board canceled the vendor's contract because of certain hazardous conditions.


25 January 1999: FDEP sends a letter explaining that the polystyrene recycling machines used tetrachloroethylene solvent to dissolve polystyrene waste, and the regulatory status.


12 February 1999: A memo is sent to the Brevard County School Board discussed an on-site visit from an environmental specialist to Central Florida Poly-Recyclers / Plastic Recovery Solutions facility (contracted company).


15 December 1999: An inspection report shows that the Central Florida Poly-Recyclers / Plastic Recovery Solutions never notified FDEP of their intention to transport hazardous waste, didn’t submit evidence of casualty/liability coverage, didn’t document compliance with the hazardous waste air emissions standards, failed to prevent releases of hazardous waste, among other violations.




17 February 2000: Agents arrested two men with the companies on 26 felony environmental violations.






Tetrachloroethylene was spilled at Surfside Elementary School.

Documentation: https://prodenv.dep.state.fl.us/DepNexus/public/electronic-documents/FL0000904631/facility!search

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