Houston-based and formerly known as Waste Management Inc., WM has announced that it will invest approximately $30 million in its materials recovery facility (MRF) in Oakwood, Ohio, near Cleveland.
The company says the investment will be used to install optical sorting scanners for both fiber and plastic, designed to optimize the recovery and quality of recycled materials. The project also includes system upgrades to support what WM calls advanced glass recovery and disposal, as well as a fire detection system designed to detect and extinguish fires before they spread.
In addition, the current recycling center’s storage space is expected to increase from approximately 7,000 square feet to 32,000 square feet.
Construction on the expanded facility has already begun and the project is expected to be completed by March 2023, WM says.
“WM works with our customers to help meet their recycling needs, and with more than half a million customers in Ohio, it’s critical that we continue to invest in our communities and expand our recycling infrastructure,” said Aaron Johnson, vice president of Great Lakes. Chairman of WM “At its core, WM is a sustainability company and with this investment in the Cleveland community, our team is proud to reinforce our commitment to the environment.”
The waste and recycling company says the project is part of its planned $275 million investment in recycling infrastructure by 2022, bringing the company’s total investment in new and upgraded recycling facilities to more than $1.3 billion since 2018.
With demand for products with recycled content continuing to rise, the investment is expected to allow WM to capture more recycled materials and increase access to recycling for its customers, the company says.
A brand new recycling education space is also planned for the Cleveland MRF, which will be open to the public for scheduled education sessions and tours.
Currently, WM operates four MRFs in Ohio. With this expansion, the WM Cleveland facility is expected to become the premier recycling processing center in the state. WM expects to add 40 additional positions to the site and provide “the opportunity to brush up on current roles as technology is added.”
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) recently announced the award of a $200,000 market development grant to support planned improvements in recycling processing. The award continues what WM calls a strong partnership between WM and the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste Management District to improve Ohio’s recycling capabilities.
“The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District is pleased that WM has chosen to expand its recycling capabilities in northeast Ohio as it will serve as a catalyst for other sustainability efforts in the area,” said Elizabeth Biggins-Ramer, executive director of Cleveland-based Cuyahoga Recycles. “In addition, WM’s education center will provide residents, businesses and community leaders with an opportunity to experience how to properly recycle.”
“This facility will provide a greater opportunity for local single-stream recycling solutions,” added WM’s Johnson. “We are proud to bring advanced equipment and technology to the people and businesses we serve in Cuyahoga County and beyond, helping make Ohio cleaner and greener for everyone.”
WM describes itself as the largest provider of environmentally sound waste management solutions in North America through its subsidiaries that provide collection, recycling and disposal services to residential, commercial, industrial and municipal customers in the United States and Canada.