Philadelphia Opens Largest Recycling Center with LEED Silver Certification

April 14, 2011 / William Thomson, Green Homes Expert

The 60,000-square-foot single-stream material recovery facility (MRF) in Philadelphia that has previously received LEED silver certification from the US Green Building Council has been launched late last week, dubbed as the largest recycling center in the region.

Philadelphia Opens Largest Recycling Center with LEED Silver Certification

The launching ceremony signified the joint efforts between Waste Management and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter in building the recycling center, simultaneously with the opening of the first glass reprocessor plant in South Wales.

The Cwmbran-based reprocessor plant will process 10 tonnes of glass per hour using the latest sorting technology with its 50% capacity. Cwmbran officials explained that the recycling center has been built to answer the rising rates of recycling in the area, though full capacity of the plant is expected by end of 2011.

The advanced single-stream recycling center in Philadelphia now stands in a former brownfield area through the $20 million investment shelled out by Waste Management. The average sorting capacity of the plant plays around 20,000 tons of newspaper, cardboard, aluminum, glass and plastic every month.

The recycling center can also sort out recyclable film plastic and rigid plastics.

Being a single-stream facility, the plant makes the transport of recyclable materials easy for residents and customers as they will only have to put these recyclables in a single container to be picked up, far from the traditional sorting requirement that starts at home.

This process will simplify the collection of recyclable materials and increase recycling rates by 50%.

The Philadelphia recycling center uses magnets, screens and optical scanners to sort out and process materials before shipping them out for reuse.

“This facility has the potential to significantly increase local recycling participation rates, enabling us to further reduce waste, recover more material and improve the effectiveness of municipal and commercial recycling programs,” said Patrick DeReuda, president of Waste Management Recycle America.

The facility also serves for commercial uses and accepts recyclable materials from other regions other than inside Philadelphia under the region’s single-stream residential collection program.

Green features of the recycling facility include siding and roofing that are 80% made of recycled materials, advanced stormwater management systems, green roof in the office, and stormwater treatment facility.

Waste Management aims to more than treble the the rate of recyclable materials, from about 8 million tons this year to 20 million tons in 2020, and the Philadelphia recycling center is one of its starting points.

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