Posted in | News | Green Building | Recycling

Recycling Center to Bring New Life to Construction Waste

Today, business and community environmental leaders joined executives from Waste Management (WM) to unveil a Construction and Demolition (C&D) Processing and Recycling Center that will generate new green jobs in El Cajon. Using the latest in eco-technology, the facility will recover and process up to 130,000 tons of commercial construction waste, as well as traditional recyclables, annually.

The C&D Processing and Recycling Center was built in response to growing consumer and government interest in green programs to both reduce the amount of building materials waste going to landfills and to encourage reuse, recycling and recovery. C&D accounts for more than 22 percent of the overall waste stream in California, 35 percent of the waste at Miramar Landfill, and it is estimated at more than 100,000 tons annually for the unincorporated areas of the county and over 1 million tons countywide.

"The new facility will play an important role in reducing San Diego's landfill deposits and carbon emissions footprint," said Carl Scherbaum, Waste Management of San Diego's district manager. "We have provided Construction and Demolition collection services to developers since the 70's. With the new sort line, we can take it to the next level and help contractors actually recycle these materials as opposed to simply hauling them to the landfill."

From drywall and concrete to wood and metal, the $7 million, state-of-the-art sorting line, custom built for WM by Lubo, separates C&D recyclable items from the waste stream collected at commercial building sites or home remodeling projects. The line also has state-of-the-art TiTech optical sorting capabilities for the processing of dry recyclables such as aluminum cans, glass and newspapers from commercial trash loads. Fully staffed, the line could employ up to 30 people and process up to 30-35 tons per hour of C&D materials and approximately 25 tons per hour of dry recyclables.

"The sort line's advanced technology allows us to process up to 50 times the amount of recyclables as a traditional manual sort line," continued Scherbaum. "This investment into San Diego's green infrastructure not only demonstrates our long term commitment to recycling in San Diego, but also reaffirms our strong belief that green solutions make good business sense, even in this economy."

The materials processed through the sort line can be sold for use in a number of different ways. Drywall may be transformed into soil amendment for farming applications while scrap metal can be recycled to make other steel products. Wood can be processed into landscape cover or used to generate green power.

"This is a fantastic new recycling operation that will conserve resources and make our environment healthier," said Margo Reid Brown, chair of the California Integrated Waste Management Board. "We applaud Waste Management for its innovative approach to giving construction materials a second life and giving everyone in San Diego more opportunities to live green."

In addition to launch of the new sort line, WM recently introduced the Green Squad(TM) to provide businesses a resource for turn-key sustainability. The team of eco-consultants works to assess a company's green practices - water efficiency, energy efficiency, general sustainability and waste to resource management - and develop a comprehensive sustainability strategy. The Green Squad also provides C&D consulting services to businesses and contractors by helping them manage waste materials. They determine the best options for diversion and coordinate the entire process, from collection to hauling.

"Combined with Waste Management's overall eco-friendly programs and business practices, the Green Squad is another resource businesses can tap to operate as sustainable as possible," said Mike Schwartz, LEED AP an eco-solutionist and business development manager for the Green Squad. "With today's technology, it truly is possible for businesses of all types to save money and resources by operating green."

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