Waste 360 February 4, 2019: Recycling Returns to Montgomery, Ala., After a Three-year Absence

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week, the city of Montgomery, Ala., RePower South (RPS) and the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce announced that the Montgomery Recycling and Recovery Facility has resumed advanced residential recycling operations.

“This ribbon cutting speaks to our commitment to do what’s right by becoming a green city and a destination known nationally as a leader in recycling, innovation and technology,” said Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange in a statement. “Partnerships mean progress in Montgomery, and thanks to our partnership with RePower South, we are bringing a cost effective, environmentally friendly and seamless sanitation solution to our residents. Not to mention, this facility will save taxpayer dollars by extending the life of our landfill at no additional cost to our city.”

All Montgomery residential sanitation customers will participate in the program without any extra effort or sorting. Sanitation crews will collect garbage from residents’ green cans—just like the current system—and deliver to the Montgomery Recycling and Recovery Facility where high-tech machinery will sort and recycle. At a 100 percent participation rate, Montgomery will lead the state in recycling.

“Our platform enables greater recycling recovery and does so across the entire Montgomery waste stream,” said RPS President Scott Montgomery in a statement. “RePower South creates a low-carbon, clean fuel to help reduce the consumption of coal. Greater recycling, less landfilling and cleaner air at lower cost is a true win-win for the city of Montgomery. We know there’s a better way for our nation to manage garbage, and we are excited that the city of Montgomery agrees. We look forward to this facility serving as a model for the world to move toward a more sustainable waste and energy future.”

RPS reached an agreement with the city in June 2018 to operate the city-owned facility. In the months since, RPS invested more than $10 million in capital and new additions to the facility, spending more than $12 million total on the project. Among the new additions is the latest in advanced recycling machinery essential to turning traditionally landfilled waste, like non-recyclable paper and plastic, into low-carbon, clean fuel. This alternative to coal consumption will be sold to industrial customers and utilities, which will eliminate RPS’ dependence on a volatile commodities market, a weakness in the facility’s previous operator’s strategy.

“Montgomery has a long history of trusted public-private partnerships, and we are thrilled to add RePower South to our growing business ecosystem,” said Willie Durham, Montgomery Chamber of Commerce board chairman, in a statement. “This move is just one of many smart city solutions coming to Montgomery’s waste management sector, and we look forward to continuing this momentum into other areas, including access to free Wi-Fi. This type of innovation is just one more benefit to living and working in Montgomery.”

The private-public partnership includes a revenue sharing provision, which means the city could receive up to $200,000 annually from RPS, if sales of recovered materials increase. Big savings will also be realized for the city by reducing maintenance and capital costs for sanitation equipment and extending the life of the landfill through the diversion of household garbage and recoverable materials. Construction of a new landfill cells generally cost approximately $2.8 million. RPS Montgomery will create more than 65 new green jobs in the River Region at an average rate of $16 an hour.

RPS development partners include Barnhill Contracting Company as general contractor; Bulk Handling Systems to refurbish and upgrade the waste processing system; and Loesche Energy Systems to provide the fuel manufacturing system. RPS licenses the fuel technology (ReEngineered Feedstock) from Accordant Energy.

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