Collected Shots: Grand Opening of the Shoreway Environmental Center in San Carlos, Calif.

150 attendees, including RethinkWaste board of directors and staff, local and state officials, and community leaders gathered at the Shoreway Environmental Center in San Carlos, Calif., on Sept. 27 to celebrate the grand opening of the upgraded facility. The event included guest speakers, tours of the facility, the unveiling of the facility’s new environmental education center, as well as Recology San Mateo County staff wearing recycled fashion by the nonprofit artists’ collaborative Haute Trash.

The Shoreway Environmental Center includes:

  • A new, 70,200-square-foot materials recovery facility (MRF) that processes single-stream recyclables and replaces the previous 48,000-square-foot building. According to a RethinkWaste press release, the new MRF became fully operational in May 2011, and has the capacity to handle over 80,000 tons per year on one operating shift.
  • A 14,780 square-foot expansion of the existing 62,000 square-foot transfer station building to increase unloading spaces for public customers and allow for a 30,000 ton-per-year increase in organic materials such as yard waste and food scraps collected from local residents and businesses.
  • A new environmental education center housed in the MRF building, featuring museum-quality exhibits promoting resource conservation and RethinkWaste programs. The environmental education center will be available for tours for schools, community groups and the general public starting later this fall.
  • A new public recycling center for the free drop-off of materials for recycling, and a buy-back center for redeeming bottles and cans.
  • A new scale house and related traffic enhancements. Green building features such as the use of photovoltaic (solar) panels to generate renewable energy to power site operations, rainwater capture and reuse, translucent panels to maximize daytime lighting, and the use of native and low-water plants.

RethinkWaste owns the Shoreway Environmental Center, which receives all of the residential and commercial recyclables, organic materials and solid waste collected in the service area by Recology San Mateo County. The facility is permitted to receive 3,000 tons per day, and is operated by South Bay Recycling (SBR) on the agency’s behalf. Construction began in November 2009 after approval and issuance of tax-exempt solid waste revenue enterprise bonds in September 2009 to fund the capital improvements.

The Shoreway master plan improvements were initiated to handle the increased volume and types of materials collected through the residential CartSMART and commercial BizSMART recycle, compost and garbage collection services launched in January of this year. Since the launch, residential recycling and compost tons collected have both increased by 30 percent, while garbage has decreased by 19 percent, according to a press release.

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