WM says its major MRF project north of Miami is set to be completed in early 2025.
The effort is part of WM’s larger goal of investing over $1 billion through 2025 in new facilities and technology upgrades. By the end of 2023, 95% of WM’s MRFs will be equipped with state-of-the-art processing technology, a press release stated.
Up to 825 tons per day
The new Florida MRF is being built in Pembroke Pines, roughly 25 miles north of Miami. The company is planning a $75 million MRF on the same 20-acre site as its current Reuter Recycling Facility. The new site was announced last November.
At 127,000 square feet, the new building will be able to process between 750 tons and 825 tons of material per day, WM spokeswoman Dawn McCormick said. The current facility processes about 675 tons of material per day.
“We’re going to use the existing facility for other support operations at that site, but not for recycling, per se,” she added.
Dubbed WM Recycling South Florida, the facility will employ optical sorters, AI and robotics to do quality control, increase throughput and improve the second chance line. The technology will help the MRF capture 95% of recyclable material and separate papers to create more valuable bales, the press release noted.
McCormick said specific equipment plans are still being finalized, but the company hopes to order equipment this summer, break ground in August and be operational in the first quarter of 2025.
“We’re really excited for this opportunity to build a new facility from scratch and to be able to put in the latest technology,” McCormick said.
One focus will be managing plastic films better, she added. The facility is meant to serve south Florida, and most feedstock will come from the local community. Part of that service to the community includes a 1,200-square-foot education room called the WM Sustainability Education Station, the press release noted. It can be used by school and civic groups, as well as municipal and customer communities, to learn more about recycling, waste management and sustainability.
Michael DeClerck, WM’s director of recycling for Florida, said in the press release that the new facility’s “technological advances will result in the production of high-quality recycling materials to ensure the long-term viability of sustainable recycling programs throughout South Florida.”
Municipal costs have risen
The MRF is being built at a time of waste and recycling contract discussions in Miami-Dade County.
The Miami-Dade County Commissioners recently approved no-bid, two-year contract extensions with WM and a few other current providers because it would not be able to secure new contracts by the time the old contracts expired, Miami Today reported last week.
The city has been looking to take new bids for the last three years after recycling collection costs for the city rose 28%, according to the Miami Today story. Under the contract the county will pay $143.99 per ton to send materials to WM’s MRF in Pembroke Pines. Three years ago, the cost was about $50 per ton.
In other facility investment news from WM, the company recently outlined plans to invest $38 million in technology at its existing facility in Germantown, Wis., which is already one of the largest and most technologically advanced MRFs in the Badger State.
Work on the upgrades, which will increase the Wisconsin MRF’s capacity, is scheduled to begin in May and wrap up by December.
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