C&D recycling facility formally launched
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Pitt County Solid Waste and Recycling celebrated the launch of its new construction and demolition recycling facility with a ribbon cutting and luncheon on Wednesday.
"Pitt County is ranked in the top five counties in the state for recycling," Commissioner Melvin McLawhorn, chairman of the Board of Commissioners, said.
"This program started with me five years ago, thinking about and talking with staff about ways we could increase our recycling goals," said John Demary, director of Pitt County Solid Waste and Recycling.
Those thoughts turned to the construction and demolition debris brought to the transfer station off Allen Road. Asphalt shingles were being removed from the waste stream because there was a recycling market for them.
"Most of these materials have value; you just have to separate them out," Demary said. To make it work, his department needed to separate the materials for sale to buyers of various materials, including scrap wood, metal, drywall and glass.
The drawback is the price of recyclables fluctuates, Demary said. Several years ago, the per-ton cost of recyclable cardboard hovered near $100; today the county is getting $175 per ton.
"That's good money," Demary said.
However, he views the recycling program more as a money-saving opportunity instead of a money-making venture.
Last fiscal year, the county had 20,000 tons of construction and demolition waste come through the transfer station.
"If we were to send 20,000 tons to the landfill, we would be looking at $585,000 in costs a year," he said. "If we recycle 50 percent, you are looking at $292,500 in savings."
Demary's goal is to eventually recycle at least 75 percent of the C&D debris.
"If in the next six months we are at 50 percent (recycling), I will feel we are heading in the right direction," he said.
The facility became operational on March 1, Demary said. The last few weeks have been spent refining the process and working through any mechanical kinks.
The system begins with debris being deposited in the shelter that houses the equipment. It then is loaded into a hopper that sends it down a vibrating screen that shakes out any metals and material 4 inches or less in diameter. That material is directed to another conveyor that runs under a magnet that pulls out the metal objects and deposits them in a container; the rest of the material goes to another container.
Larger objects are directed onto the picking line, a conveyor where a team of approximately 12 sort the materials by type.
"I'm excited that it's going to take Pitt County Solid Waste and Recycling to a new level,” Demary said. “We will begin to offer the public and construction companies more ways to recycle their products and their waste.”
The expanded facility comes at a critical time, Demary said. Multiple construction projects funded with public dollars are underway, which require the builders to follow LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards, which includes reducing the debris produced during construction. Recycling the materials accomplishes that goal.
The new facility is making a big difference for Kevin Haltigan, co-owner of New East Container, a Greenville family-owned business that provides bins for construction cleanup, commercial garbage and residential cleanup.
To help its construction clients meet LEED standards, New East would have to put up to seven bins on a construction site so bricks, wood, metal and other construction materials would be sorted for recycling, Haltigan said. Then the company would have to find a recycler of that particular material.
With building sites growing ever smaller, it's also good to reduce the number of bins on site, Haltigan said.
"Now we can do it with one dumpster so we can bring it here," he said.
"With more LEED projects coming down the pipe, it's nice to tell a contractor, ‘Yeah, we can handle that,’" Haltigan said.
Demary has more plans for improving the marketability of the C&D recyclables.
For grinding wood construction materials, the county pays a private company that has equipment that includes a magnet to remove nails. Demary wants to purchase a similar machine for the county in the 2017-18 fiscal year.
The C&D Recycling facility was designed by Greenville's The East Group, which served as consulting engineers. Hudson Brothers Construction Co. was the contractor for the building and site work, and MetalTech Systems of Pawleys Island, S.C., designed and built the sorting equipment.
The county secured a $1.8 million loan for the project, which is being repaid through the department's enterprise fund.
Ginger Livingston can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-329-9570. Follow her on Twitter @GingerLGDR.