Alpine Waste & Recycling has more than doubled its single-stream recycling capacity with a $5 million investment in upgrading its Denver recycling plant.
The Commerce City, Colo.-based company said in a news release it made the investment in response to market demand, and the move makes Alpine Waste & Recycling the highest capacity recycling processor in a contiguous 10-state region.
The new material recovery facility (MRF) will have the capacity to process 30 tons of material per hour.
The investment included all new Machinex equipment, with twice as many transfer belts, as well as some material-sorting technology upgrades.
One of the equipment features is the first device within a Colorado single-stream plant that condenses polystyrene foam packaging material (such as Styrofoam) into recyclable bricks.
“Alpine’s investment in this plant will greatly increase the amount of material that is diverted away from landfills,” said Brent Hildebrand, vice president-recycling for Alpine.
Local municipal and state agencies estimate that the recycling rate for the Denver is well below 25 percent, the company said, in contrast to the national diversion rate of about 34 percent.
Alpine Waste & Recycling handles 300,000-plus tons of waste, compost and recycling annually, with more than 80 trucks and more than 200 employees.
Recycling infrastructure has increased steadily despite the challenges of the market. In July GreenWaste Recovery opened a MRF at the firm’s operation in San Jose, Calif. The MRF will process both commercial and residential single-stream recyclables at a rate of more than 40 tons per hour.
In May Penn Waste Inc. in Manchester, Pa. opened one of the largest MRFs in the nation. The 96,000-sq.-ft. single-stream facility more than tripled the company’s processing capabilities and improved recovery rates.
Also in May solid waste firm Hamm Inc., Perry, Kan., expanded its MRF in Lawrence, Kan., to add a single-stream recycling operation. The new operation has the processing capacity of 10 metric tons per hour, with a planned further expansion to 20 metric tons per hour.
The economic challenges of recycling was one of the prime topics at this year’s WasteExpo Investor Summit. Much talk focused on restructuring contracts. Republic Services Inc. wants to move toward a more waste-centric measure as a basis for contracts, as opposed to the standard Consumer Price Index. Waste Management Inc., meanwhile, would like to shift to a service fee model to charge for recycling.