Recycling plant sparks controversy in Winter Garden as neighbors fight planned facility

A Winter Garden Community is taking a stand against a plan to open a new recycling facility right by some of their homes.

Plastic from all over the state will end up at the large industrial building to be sorted and shipped out, according to PureCycle. The company says it will be clean and bring in good jobs, but people who live around it aren't convinced. A group of residents held a meeting Thursday night bringing up concerns over truck traffic and possible pollution.

"It scared me to death, because of the plastic that might come off and end up in places it shouldn’t end up, and the sound, the noise, and everything in our community, and we’re trying to clean it up," said Charlie Wilder, who lives in east Winter Garden near the facility.

PureCycle says it won't be using any chemicals or industrial water and claims there won't be any issues with microplastics. It says the facility will also bring about 30 jobs to the area.

"We’ve actually spent a lot of time talking to residents about what they need, what they would like to see, and we feel like we can be a full complement to that effort," said Dustin Olson, the company's CEO.

But residents aren't sold.


"I just feel like that’s just something to say to make the deal sweet, but just like there are jobs everywhere else," said Chloe Johnson-Brunson. "These residents can go elsewhere to get good-paying jobs. We don’t want you here, PureCycle."

The City of Winter Garden is challenging Orange County's approval for the recycling facility to be zoned for its location.

It's possible that the dispute could end up being settled in court.

East Winter Garden is also where Orange County Public Schools planned to build a new bus depot. The community fought that as well. The district now says it isn't moving forward with that plan and could put the depot somewhere else.