Emerald Coast Utilities Authority’s (ECUA) new $10.6 million, 53,460-square-foot interim material recycling facility (IMRF) is now open in Escambia County, Fla. The IMRF can process clean recycling materials, such as glass, paper and most mixed plastics, and sort up to 25 tons of waste per hour with a single shift.
For the new IMRF, Big Top Fabric Structures created a custom-made structure to accommodate ECUA’s recycling equipment floor plan. The structure, which provides the IMRF with an ample amount of natural light during the daytime, helps reduce energy costs, and it helps ECUA save $45.06 per ton of material, which is the same price it would have had to pay to dispose of its recyclables at a nearby landfill.
“Big Top was contacted by ECUA in September 2015 to design a custom-made structure for its new IMRF,” says Big Top Fabric Structures Marketing Manager Brandon Fletcher. “The project called for a completion date of September 2016, and Big Top was able to manufacture and ship the structure within three weeks and have the building completely installed in less than 60 days.”
Prior to the IMRF’s opening, ECUA faced a number of recycling processing issues after it terminated its recycling program. First, ECUA was processing its recyclables at a recycling center in Montgomery, Ala., but it closed in October 2015. Then, it began transferring its recyclables to Tarpon Paper Co. in Loxley, Ala., but quickly halted that process after the company tacked on a $12.50 per ton tipping fee for customers. As a last resort, ECUA started transferring its recyclables to the Escambia County Perdido Landfill.
Now, with the new IMRF open, ECUA will be able to eliminate its use of privately operated sectors and move forward with total control over its processing rates and how materials are processed.
The IMRF is also slated to help the State of Florida achieve its goal of reaching a 75 percent recycling rate by 2020.