Recycled storm debris means big business for some

- After Hurricane Irma, everyone was more than ready to get rid of the debris lining the streets of neighborhoods across the Tampa Bay area. But now, you might be buying back all of that yard waste in the form of recycled goods.

A family business has become one of the largest recyclers of storm debris in the state. Bill Gaston is the founder of Gaston's Tree Debris Recycling, which turns debris into mulch.

"The idea that you can take a liability and change the shape of it and turn it into an asset for beneficial use. Now that is a really cool process," offered Gaston.

The process is an amazing movement of mountains of mulch. Gaston's is paid to accept the material at its plants across Florida.

Gaston started a one-man tree service in Gainesville more than 40 years ago. He says the mulch business became a necessity as the tree company grew.

He needed something to do with the debris and couldn't get a permit to burn it. That's when the idea to make mulch was born.

Gaston says he wholesales mulch to many companies who then bag and sell it at home improvement and big box stores.

That means the next time you buy mulch, you could be buying back your storm debris.

"You could put it back on your yard," Gaston smiled.

Gaston's now has branches in Duval, Marion, and Alachua counties.

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