The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) Board of Trustees voted today to approve a transformational new initiative that would shift the duties of the organization away from landfill management operations toward recycling efforts and the creation of renewable energy.
SWACO entered into agreements today with Team Gemini, an Orlando-based sustainable project design firm, to develop a new receiving facility, recycling center and industrial park on 365 acres of land adjacent to the Franklin County Landfill south of Grove City.
“Curbside programs can continue to harvest the best of recyclables,” said SWACO Executive Director Ronald Mills. “This project is a way for us to increase recycling in what is left, and is a tremendous step toward SWACO’s goal of decreasing dependence on the landfill while providing SWACO financial stability where ratepayers ultimately benefit.”
Gemini will be required to build and operate a new Material Recovery Facility that will recycle a minimum of 1,000 tons of waste per day that would otherwise be headed to the landfill. SWACO will be paid $4.81/ton for the material in addition to existing tipping fees paid by material haulers at the gate. The new recycling facility is expected to be operational sometime in 2014.
“Some countries in Europe no longer have landfills, because they are recycling 100 percent of their waste,” said Team Gemini President Douglas Haughn, a Grove City native. “Why can’t we use those same technologies and have a similar goal? With SWACO and the involvement of industry experts and our team members, we can create a synergistic center of industry, powered completely by our waste stream, thus creating a Carbon Negative Footprint.”
The industrial park development is expected to eventually include greenhouses, a fish farm, an anaerobic digester and other eneOrgy production and industrial facilities. A conveyor system will also be constructed to bridge State Route 665, carrying recyclables from the Material Recovery Facility to other processing facilities within the industrial park.
The development is not expected to affect the new curbside recycling program in Columbus, or any other existing regional recycling programs. Roughly 60 percent of waste coming into the Franklin County Landfill comes from area businesses.