General Business

Cumberland County Opens Localized Materials Recovery Facility

The Cumberland County Improvement Authority announced a new 12,000 square-foot, small-scale Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) named New Leaf. Located within the Solid Waste Complex of The Authority at 169 Jesse Bridge Road, the facility will sort, bale, and ship to market valuable local recyclables—including paper, plastic, glass, and metals—from its existing single-stream county recycling program. It is the first such facility on the East Coast.

In a public-private partnership, The Authority teamed up with circular economy-focused investment firm, Closed Loop Partners, and Canusa Hershman, a leading recycling company, to finance New Leaf, which will empower communities to manage valuable materials locally through small-scale recycling units, manufactured by Revolution Systems. These patented recycling units are less capital intensive than traditional large-scale recycling facilities, with a unique revolving table that aids the sorting process of recyclables. They can capture recyclables that might otherwise escape the initial sorting process, as their design enables multiple chances at recovery rather than just the one chance on a traditional MRF’s linear conveyor belt. In turn, this increases the volume of recyclables recovered and reduces landfill waste.

“Enhancing local recycling capabilities enables the community to benefit from new revenue opportunities, a healthier environment, and new jobs,” says Ron Gonen, Founder & CEO of Closed Loop Partners. “We’re proud to work with The Authority and Canusa Hershman to accelerate a more modern, resilient future for recycling, rethinking the status quo and championing new designs and local, small-scale facilities. This will be a critical part of building a more circular economy that keeps valuable materials out of nature and landfills, and in manufacturing supply chains.”

The MRF at The Authority currently receives an average of 65 tons of recycling material per day and has the potential to scale in anticipation of future growth in Cumberland County. Moreover, the MRF operates onsite at the Solid Waste Complex, deriving its energy from the gases harvested from the landfill also located onsite. Localizing MRF operations eliminates transferring recyclables to another MRF outside of the county, which is an improvement to environmental sustainability and to financial responsibility through lower trucking emissions and lower trucking costs. It is estimated that by localizing the new Mini MRF it will help avoid 1 million miles of trucking over the life of the contract. Regarding the bales headed for market, The Authority shares in their sale price and intends to invest this newfound revenue in future projects for the county.

“It’s been our mission to protect the local environment and simultaneously to improve the economic viability of Cumberland County,” said The Authority President & CEO, Gerard Velazquez, III. “The MRF fulfills both aspects of this mission elegantly, and we believe that it demonstrates a willingness to chart our own course toward a better future.”

The MRF begins its operations in earnest today, but it already has had an impact on our local economy, thanks to new full-time jobs at the facility that management intends to fill with local talent.

Joseph Derella, director of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners, described the new MRF as an example of “green technology job creation” stating, “The Authority continues to be an engine of innovation for our county by laying the foundation for sustainable and smart economic growth.”

Deputy Commissioner Darlene Barber added, “The people of Cumberland County can be proud of The Authority’s leadership in taking this giant step in our goal to create a sustainable future.”

Finally, Mayor Abigail O’Brien of our host township of Deerfield commented, “Partnerships that promote innovation, sustainability, and job creation for our residents will always have a home in Deerfield Township.”

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