Municipal leaders from across the country are curious about how the future will unfold for a trash-sorting materials recovery facility in Montgomery, Alabama.
In an article in the Montgomery Advertiser this week, that Alabama city’s mayor, Todd Strange, says decision-makers from other cities have come to take a look at Montgomery’s recently opened $35 million facility, which sorts recyclables from municipal trash.
“We’ve had mayors from other areas come in to see how it is being done, and there are more mayors coming in September,” Strange is quoted as saying.
The idea of other mayors showing interest in a mixed waste facility — a concept sometimes referred to as a dirty MRF — will certainly be noted by recycling advocates. In recent months, discussions of the possibility of similar facilities opening in cities including Houston, Indianapolis and Cleveland have brought responses from state recycling coalition leaders, representatives from commodity companies and other industry members,
In regards to the recently reported Indianapolis proposal, for instance, the Indiana Recycling Coalition and manufacturers including Alcoa and Monarch Beverage joined together to pen a letter urging Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard to consider other options. “We believe it would set recycling back in Indianapolis and central Indiana for decades to come,” the letter stated.
Opponents of mixed material processing question the quality of the materials yielded by such operations. They also point out some commodities, such as glass, are sometimes not captured at all in the dirty MRF setting.
In Montgomery, Mayor Strange says technology in the facility can lead to high-level sortation.
“It’s gratifying to see something like this happen,” he told the Advertiser, “but the major beneficiaries will be our residents and our environment.”