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An Inside Look at Waste Management’s Disneyland of MRFs

The 52-acre complex sits on a former landfill and processes 6 million pounds of material every day.

The California Resource Recovery Association (CRRA) kicked off its 42nd Annual Conference & Tradeshow in Oakland, Calif., last Thursday with a full day of site tours. Attending the conference for the first time, Waste360 Conference Manager Sarah Winner took full advantage of the opportunity to tour the Davis Street Resource Recovery Complex and Transfer Station in San Leandro.

Acquired by Waste Management in 1986, the 52-acre complex sits on a former landfill site and is affectionately described as the “Disneyland of MRFs.” Servicing Alameda County, the Davis Street Resource Recovery Complex processes on average 6 million pounds of material every day. The complex houses a single stream materials recovery facility (MRF), a dry waste construction and demolition MRF, a public area MRF and a new organics material recovery facility (OMRF), giving Waste Management the capability to recover materials for recycling, composting and reuse.

During the tour, attendees learned that Waste Management and Alameda County are committed to diverting 90 percent of its recyclable materials from landfills by 2020.

“Davis Street is continually refining our operations and introducing new technology to minimize the amount of waste sent to landfill,” says Karen Stern, director of communications for Waste Management. “This work supports StopWaste’s 2020 goal of less than 10 percent of landfilled materials being made up of readily recyclable or compostable ‘good stuff.’ Achieving this goal will ultimately rely on public engagement, education, source separation and continued investment in technology to prevent recyclables from entering the waste stream. It’s a goal we are actively working toward with our partners in Alameda County.” 

The recently completed OMRF will assist with the diversion goal by separating the 400 to 600 tons of organic material that is collected each day from other mixed waste. The organic material will then be composted or digested onsite.

Not yet fully operational, attendees were granted an inside look at the OMRF, a facility that consists of more than 350 pieces of equipment and the processing power of 100 tons an hour.

Check out the gallery for a look at the Davis Street Resource Recovery Complex.  

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