SEATTLE (Waste Advantage): As city leaders work to expand drop-off recycling sites for residents, they are also discussing the development of an advanced sorting and processing facility as a long-term solution for recycling services. Last year, Chesapeake ended its contract with TFC Recycling, which provided curbside recycling services for residents, as a cost-saving measure to fund other priorities, such as pay raises for public safety workers. Since then, the city has provided eight drop-off sites scattered throughout the city, and some subscription-based vendors set up shop in the city as well.
Since the nixing of curbside services, some council members have expressed an appetite for restoring them. But staff are exploring what they believe will be the future of recycling for the city. In an Aug. 15 work session with City Council members, Public Works Director Earl Sorey said an integrated materials recovery facility would use advanced technology like artificial intelligence to more efficiently sort and process both solid waste and recyclables in a “single bin system.” Such a facility, he said, would eliminate redundant truck trips as materials would be transported via a single fleet of vehicles.
Additionally, it’s estimated such a facility would see a 50% recovery rate — defined as the amount of materials recycled out of everything collected through trash and recycling services. By contrast, city staff say traditional curbside services in Chesapeake deliver a recovery rate between 5% and 7%. Sorey said a city team visited such a site in South Carolina earlier this year and that others are scattered throughout the U.S.
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