by Wendy A. Wert, P.E., BCEE
On November 8, 2013 the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES) toured Delaware Solid Waste Authority's (DSWA) Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) located in New Castle, DE. The MRF, which opened on August 29, 2013, is the product of an innovative partnership between DWSA and ReCommunity. The automated recycling facility operates under a 20-year agreement to provide service to the entire state.
AAEES President Pat Canzano opened the event by explaining the importance of recycling to the state's economy and environment. This partnership aligns with statewide objectives for universal recycling programs with the goal of converting waste into economic opportunities.
ReCommunity invested $15 million to repurpose the existing 64,000 square foot facility, also installing state-of-the art sorting equipment within the Delaware Recycling Center (DRC) to process recyclable aluminum, plastics, paper, cardboard, tin and glass collected from throughout Delaware.
"When DSWA reviewed the proposals for green industries at the DRC, it was clear ReCommunity is a leader in the recycling industry," said Pat Canzano DSWA CEO. "But what was most impressive about them is their commitment to Delaware and the surrounding community." The retrofitted facility allows DSWA to keep recycling operations in state, which has created more than 35 new jobs in Delaware, which is expected to increase to more than 70 jobs over time.
The world-class operation and design showcased within the ReCommunity Delaware facility includes advanced automated sorting capabilities that allow identification, separation and recovery of recyclables. The equipment includes screening, optical sorting, air and controls technology to recover more than 90 percent of available recyclables. The state-of-the-art facility can process more than 35 tons per hour, with the capacity to handle more than 160,000 tons per year.
At full capacity, ReCommunity Delaware will recover material that will prevent 464,331 metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gases from being emitted annually, which is equivalent to removing 85,045 cars from the road each year. It will also save 218,587 cubic yards of landfill space and avoid 1,806,539 gallons of wastewater from entering landfills.
After touring the automated recycling center, AAEES attendees visited DSWA's new Environmental Education Building. The Education Building is equipped with interactive exhibits that demonstrate how recyclables are sorted and processed from initiation to completion including waste collection, processing and landfill operations.
AAEES is a recognized authority on technical licensure and certification. As with most professions, the interests of the public and practitioners are connected to the delivery of quality engineering and science services. Reputable environmental professionals ensure better conditions for the public.
The AAEES specialty certification program establishes the specific expertise of licensed professional environmental engineers and environmental scientists through peer evaluation and examination. The Academy ensures that appropriate examinations for the environmental engineering and environmental science disciplines are available through support provided to the AAEES Trustees tour DSWA's new Environmental Education Building (above) National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. The Academy demonstrates its commitment to quality environmental engineering and environmental science education programs through active participation in the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
An essential component of Certification is the Academy's continuing education requirements. The Academy's tour of DSWA's MRF and Education Building provided the leadership with an enlightened and inspired training opportunity. Through innovative partnerships such as the one between the DSWA and ReCommunity the profession, continues its journey toward making inclusive environmental leadership in the engineering and scientific fields a reality.
Board Certification is the next step beyond Professional Engineering licensure. The Academy also offers certification to scientists and membership categories that serve all levels from students to senior managers. To learn more about the organization, benefits of membership, and how to join, please go to the website at http://www.aaees.org.