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SWACO Announces Renewable Energy Industrial Park

Walker Evans Walker Evans SWACO Announces Renewable Energy Industrial Park
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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.

More information can be found at www.swaco.org and www.teamgemini.us.

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  • Saint Murrays

    I like the idea of creating a center focused around the waste stream, could have electronic recyclers there as well as organic mater recovery into fertilizer.

  • Twixlen

    Wait – does this mean they’re actually going to start recycling what they say they recycle, instead of dumping most of it into the landfill anyway? Because it seems like that would be a good place to start, with their “renewable energy initiative”…

  • dubdave00

    Hmmm, renewable energy park. And here I thought they’d build a Polaris south mall over there…

    There must be something in the water. :-)

  • @dave – Anne and I half-jokingly refer to Stringtown Road as Polaris South. It may not have the full blown mall, but it has just about every big box and chain retailer and restaurant in the vicinity at this point. ;)

  • James

    @Twixlen – “instead of dumping most of it into the landfill anyway” – For real? I hadn’t heard that was going on.

  • Mandy Henderson

    Sweet Jesus I hope this is really what they say it is.

    Some of my favorite people have come out of Grove City… but it’s not my favorite place. If this goes through as proposed it may move on up!

  • Hamsterdam

    Green energy. Still a thing!!

  • dubdave00

    @walker – I should have known I got that reference from here. Yea, the GC is a different place than it was 10 years ago. Exciting to see green / renewables happening across central Ohio and not just the usual places.

  • Twixlen

    @James – Yeah… heard from various folks tied into SWACO/Recycling/in-the-know… they recycle cardboard, metal, very minimal plastic… nothing like what they claim. Rest goes to landfill.

  • Having worked in the recycling industry in the past, I can tell you that, on average, only about 50% of what is set out to the curb is actually recycled. Also, unless the curbside program is canceled, there will not be enough recyclable material for this facility to recover; therefore, it will be a financial failure. Also, at a cost of $18,000,000 for this resource recovery facility, it seems too high, thus making it very likely that the numbers will not work and the facility will fail.

  • Breeze

    I’m not trying to troll David161 but I do need to hit him with some updated info…

    I do work in the recycling industry (material recovery facilities) and can tell you that our average % of received municipal/curbside material that makes it to the landfill is ~11-12%. This figure primarily represents genuine (picked) trash and or (fine) items that will have made it through the mechanical/optical sorting process. Technological advancements and sizable capital investment has “single stream” systems performing better than ever before. Quality on the other hand…sigh.

    Regarding your perceived need to cancel the curbside recycling program, I disagree…this stream should be kept as is in consideration of the fact that the total stream volume and participation rates are on the rise nationwide. When volatile commodity market pricing warrants it, this stream represents a revenue to the municipality/city.

    Lastly, don’t be so quick to dismiss the long term financial viability of a facility like this…is it expensive? Yes. Will it likely have a significant ROI/IRR? Perhaps. However, in consideration of the tremendous amount of recyclable/compostable items that wind up in a typical landfill (over ~80% per EPA) combined with the intent to have them recovered, rebated against (or cost deferred), this facility has the financial capacity to blow us away. All of that aside, it’s a hell of a complex system/process so let’s hope it’s managed correctly.

    @ Twixen and James – While I’m unaffiliated with your quoted instance – I can confirm that some plastics are very difficult to recycle…consumers/plastic mills also have a scary low tolerance for contamination…that said, 3-7’s, and all your higher tier plastics are actively recycled.

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