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ReCommunity Recycling, Public Partner to Rebuild Burnt Michigan MRF

ReCommunity Recycling and its public sector partner will rebuild their Southfield, Mich., materials recovery facility (MRF) that was shut down by a fire in 2014.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based ReCommunity will work with the Resource Recovery and Recycling Authority of Southwest Oakland County (RRRASOC) with a target of reopening the facility in early 2016, according to a news release.

ReCommunity said the building renovation work will be complete this summer, and it has ordered the equipment to process the collected recyclables. The unit has been undergoing repairs and reconstruction for eight months.

Van Dyk Systems will construct and install the new Bollegraaf processing system, which will include optical sorting and ballistic separation technologies to maximize quality and efficiency.

RRRASOC, which helps manage resource recovery for a consortium of seven communities in Oakland County, has funded the building construction and will partner with ReCommunity to invest and install the new processing system.

“We are pleased to be able to partner with RRRASOC and reinvest in the Detroit market area MRF,” said ReCommunity President Sean Duffy. “We have had a long-standing partnership with the authority, and their willingness to co-invest to rebuild the recycling facility is critical to our future together.”

ReCommunity operates 31 facilities in 14 states.

While the recycling markets have been struggling, ReCommunity hasn’t stayed dormant. A year ago it bought recycler JFD Associates Inc., Farmingdale, N.J. It became the fifth processing facility for ReCommunity in New Jersey.

But CEO James Devlin has echoed the concerns about recycling that other industry executives have made. Because of how commodity prices have fallen, “it extremely difficult to make more investments in recycling and diversion when you can’t generate a fair rate of return,” Devlin says in a late 2013 interview. “For anything to be environmentally sustainable it has to be economically sustainable. I think that’s really important as we work with our municipal partners on changing the paradigm by which revenue is generated by the company and we share with our communities.”

Partnerships have been a cornerstone of ReCommunity’s business strategy. One successful example of that is its arrangement with the Delaware Solid Waste Authority (DSWA) on operating a MRF in New Castle. ReCommunity pays rent to the DSWA, which owns the MRF property in New Castle, and operates the scale house. The authority controls the material coming in and out of the facility, and there’s a revenue share plan.

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