Visit South Walton Uses Sunshine to Stay Clean and Green

June 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Blogs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Organization Installs Solar-Powered Trash Compactors at Beach Accesses

SOUTH WALTON, Fla. (June 6, 2012) – South Walton is best known for its 26 miles of award-winning sugar-white sand beaches and clear turquoise water.  The popular coastal destination in Northwest Florida recently took action to ensure those beaches remain award-worthy by installing solar-powered trash compactors at six of its eight regional beach accesses.  The compactors were purchased from Waste Management after an initial trial period at the Ed Walline beach access, located at County Road 393 and Scenic Highway 30A, proved highly successful.

Although the compactors are the same size as a standard 35-gallon trash container, they hold five times more trash, thanks to patented solar-powered compression technology.  Greater capacity results in fewer collections, reducing the fuel, maintenance and manpower costs associated with maintaining South Walton’s public beaches.  Each unit also contains a receptacle for recycling plastic bottles, newspaper, glass and other recyclables, enabling beachgoers to easily participate in that environmentally friendly option.

“South Walton is blessed with a natural beauty that we deeply respect and strive tirelessly to maintain,” says Visit South Walton Executive Director Dawn Moliterno.  “Several years ago, we adopted the Leave No Trace program and we support South Walton Turtle Watch in their efforts to protect sea turtle nesting along our beaches.  Record visitation levels over the past year prompted us to seek innovative ways to further assist us in maintaining the pristine nature of our beaches that our visitors expect and deserve.  We believe these solar-powered compactors and recycling kiosks will play a significant role in our overall efforts.”

Crafted from recycled materials, the containers are equipped with sensors that trigger the compactor to flatten contents when the unit is full and to send a wireless signal when the can is ready to be picked up.  Notes Dave Sell, beach maintenance manager for Visit South Walton, “Our beach maintenance team services nearly 400 trash receptacles at 67 water accesses 365 days a year.  It’s imperative that we perform as efficiently as possible while protecting our natural resources, especially during the peak summer season.  These solar-powered compactors help us do that. ”

In addition to units purchased by Visit South Walton, four additional solar-powered compactors were donated by Waste Management for use in Walton County.  They are currently installed at the Freeport Sports Complex and E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center in Freeport, and at Helen McCall Park in Santa Rosa Beach.

“Providing environmentally responsible options in public spaces can be a valuable tool for communities as they raise awareness of the importance of proper waste disposal,” said Amy Boyson, community affairs manager for Waste Management.  “Ordinary trash barrels can easily overflow and become eyesores.  The Waste Management solar-powered trash compactor can provide solutions for parks, beach accesses and public spaces, by reducing waste collection frequency and ensuring a greener, cleaner environment in Walton County.”

In addition to Leave No Trace and South Walton Turtle Watch, Visit South Walton has directed 1 million plantings of vegetation to enhance the local dune system and secured more than $10 million in coastal grants for beach nourishment. The organization also funds a comprehensive beach safety program, including lifeguards stationed at regional beach accesses throughout the summer season.

About South Walton:

Located along a 26-mile stretch of Northwest Florida’s Coast, South Walton encompasses an unparalleled strand of 15 distinct beach neighborhoods, each with its own traditions, charm and visual style.  South Walton is renowned for natural scenic beauty, turquoise waters and sugar sand beaches, including one of Dr. Beach’s All-Time Top 20 Beaches.  An upscale, yet casual, place to unwind, rejuvenate and build lasting memories, it is here that visitors find their perfect beach.  Learn more at VisitSouthWalton.com.

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