Published On: Wed, Feb 9th, 2011

$16.9M system to boost recycling at Central Landfill

JOHNSTON, R.I. — A $16.9-million contract for the installation of a sophisticated recycling system, capable of sorting mixtures of recyclable papers and plastics, won approval Tuesday morning from the board that oversees the state’s Central Landfill.

The improvements will equip the landfill’s recycling facility to receive a mixture of plastics, papers and certain other recyclables.

At present, cities and towns ask residents to sort bottles and cans from paper products. Waste haulers keep recyclables separate during transport to the recycling facility.

The new system is expected to greatly bolster recycling by allowing waste haulers and residents to place plastic, glass and paper recyclables in the same bin, according to Sarah Kite, the recycling coordinator for the agency that runs the landfill, the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp.

“Single stream is easy,” said Kite, who told the Resource Recovery board that she projects an increase of 20 to 40 percent in recycling after the new system is in operation.

“When people don’t have to think about things it becomes much easier,” Kite said. “…We’re going to get those folks who think it’s too much trouble.”

The project, closely watched by Governor Chafee, is seen as a major step forward for recycling in Rhode Island, an investment that will help position the state to take advantage the many advances expected in the recycling business over the long-term.

“The industry is moving this way,” said Kite.

The system will rely on conveyors, technologies for identifying different types of recyclables and devices that will eject bursts of air to pop certain recyclables off the conveyors, Kite said.

The contract is between Resource Recovery Corp. and Van Dyke Baler Corp. of Connecticut.

It encompasses services for the design, construction, and start-up for the new system as well as other services associated with what the project specifications describe as a “retrofit” to the processing systems already in place at the landfill’s recycling facility.

Kite said she hopes the system will be in place by next spring but the time line for the project will depend on the construction schedule and on the availability of the specialized equipment.

The executive director of Resource Recovery, Michael O’Connell, told the board that increased recycling should double the amount of the grants that cities and towns receive through the recycling program each year.

“I’ve been involved with capital projects for 35 years,” OConnell said. “This is a slam dunk. This is one that’s a no-brainer.”


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