In September the City of Bangor will formally move over to a new arrangement in which residents will throw all of their recycling in with their trash and leave the mixed waste to be picked up from the curbside every week, as now happens with trash.
Bangor will also close their local recycling station as part of the city’s switch to a new integrated waste conversion plant in Hampden developed by Coastal Resources of Maine with Fiberight technology. The new facility includes a materials recovery facility (MRF), organic processing, plastics processing, anaerobic digestion (AD) and wastewater treatment. The integrated technology is intended to increase recycling rates without the need for extensive outreach programs and is easier for customers to use. According to Coastal Resources of Maine, the benefits are:
The advanced technologies are undergoing final testing at the Hampden, Maine facility, and are already in use at automated material recovery facilities in the United States and in Europe. The end product is cleaner and provides more diverse types of materials that can then be reused to create new products.
The Hampden facility’s advanced MRF has a high degree of separation, recovery, and monetization of commodity products, and then employs additional processes for generating clean cellulose, engineered fuels, and biogas from traditionally non-recyclable materials. Hired for the firm’s technical expertise and experience planning large municipal solid waste and biogas programs and facilities, SCS provided an in-depth examination and analysis of the technologies, program sustainability, and potential economic impacts of the facility.
The facility will serve 116 municipalities and public entities represented by the Municipal Review Committee, a non-profit organization that currently manages the waste disposal activities in Eastern and Northern Maine. The facility is planning to start accepting waste from its municipal customers shortly.
“With the planning and cooperation of many, Fiberight’s providing a truly sustainable solution in Maine while solving several challenges when consumers separate their recyclable materials and eliminating contamination,” stated Bob Gardner, SCS Engineers Senior VP. “The facility is capable of reusing nearly 150,000 tons of what formerly went into a landfill, is processing more municipal solid waste into high-value commodities, and is helping local municipalities and private waste haulers offset the cost of recycling.”
Increasingly, solid waste and recycling agencies are being asked by their political decision makers to improve efficiency, focus on customers, and reduce increased costs. Many agencies are managed with a combination of manual processes, desktop computer tools, limited vehicle and cart tracking and management tools, and custom databases. While effective, these methodologies often entail more effort, labor, and costs.
Smart technologies are expected to grow substantially over the next decade as agencies attempt to minimize their overall costs in solid waste collection and recycling and increase overall efficiency. As discussed briefly in this article, smart technologies have advantages and disadvantages. As agencies investigate technology to help support their service, ensure continued quality service delivery and meet demanding business requirements, it is important to conduct feasibility assessments to evaluate the economic costs to implement and update the use of new technologies in a sustainable manner.
Marc J. Rogoff and Laurel Urena of SCS Engineers.