A small town in Shelby County, Ohio is now the most technologically advanced recycling center in the state, and possibly the nation. This took place when they added solar modules earlier this summer. This type of advancement for a facility of any kind is often seen with big businesses, but this local recycling center is actually quite small.
Solar modules are by no means cheap and for a small facility to be able to afford the installation is almost unheard of. However, this quaint recycling center was able to purchase solar modules with grant money from the Environmental Protection Agency and equally matched funds from one of the state’s solid waste management districts. The fund totaled over $250,000.
Aside from the 161 solar modules, an eddy current separator was also purchased and was first to be installed. The solar panels were put in place in late May, while weather was still in their favor. These two pieces together turned this small recycling facility in Shelby County into one that is top of the line in the state and the country.
This system has the ability to produce 55,000 kilowatts of electricity each year, which will definitely save the facility a lot of money in the long run.
An environmental company assisted the north district waste management team in the grant-writing process to help make this purchase possible. They also helped oversee other local projects of a similar nature.
The manager of this environmental company said that this solar energy system has the ability to produce about half the electricity needs of the facility each year, but in summer it can produce more than the recycling center will need and put that “juice” into storage.
He explained that when more energy is produced than used the meters start to run backwards, thereby charging the facility less for usage.
The current separator is used to pull aluminum items from the rest of the recycled items which will allow for single-stream type recycling. This encourages residents recycle by allowing them to dump all of their recyclables into one container, instead of having to meticulously separate them. All the separation will be done at the facility.
Although this way of recycling is easier for residents, and their other customers, it is a bit more work on the part of the recycling facility. The new system is more than capable of the separation process, and the state is seeing an increase in volume of incoming recyclables since introducing single-stream recycling.
The operations director for the north district of Ohio waste management said he knew they were headed in this direction years ago. They began changing their solid waste plan gradually with the anticipation that all cities would eventually turn to single-stream recycling.
Upon the completion of installing all the necessary parts to this recycling facility, management, staff and the state’s waste management team held a grand reopening to celebrate. This shift in how their recycling facilities will operate is helping state move forward and into the future.