West Florida Recycling has filed for bankruptcy protection, as it seeks to rebound from what officials call a “perfect storm” of adversity.
Chief Executive Officer Larry Hoover says the “perfect storm” – including debts totaling $1 million -- led to the Chapter-11 filing.
“The issue with the storm water runoff and the flooding, the major drop in commodity prices over the last year, and they all kind of came together at once,” said Hoover.
The firm handles up to 300,000 pounds of recyclable materials each day. But problems with heavy rains breaching storm water ponds led to damaging floods on-site.
Emerald Coast Building Supplies – West Florida Recycling’s landlord – has filed suit against the engineering firm that built the storm water system.
In February, the Santa Rosa County Commission gave West Florida 30 days to get its act together. Administrator Hunter Walker said specifically, it had to come up with the delinquent rent for a transfer station at the county landfill. Walker says it appears the firm is working to comply will all requirements.
But with the Chapter 11 filing, Walker says the status of monies owed by West Florida is unclear, but he believes it will not affect Santa Rosa County. Nonetheless, work continues on a contingency plan, just in case, which could come up at next week’s commission meeting.
“We have a Request for Proposal (RFP) solicitation on the street for companies to provide that service,” said Walker. “We’re also looking at our standing up our recycling center that we had before; what I would call a short-term solution, say of a year’s duration.”
Another part of West Florida’s perfect storm is the recyclables market. Instead of charging its clients for pickup, the company makes money by selling the materials. CEO Larry Hoover says at this point, the recyclables market is not the most stable. But he adds that Chapter-11 will enable them to reorganize and continue providing services in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties.
Or, as Hoover told the Pensacola News Journal: “We’re here to stay.”