The Lee County Material Recovery Facility Expansion
Facts and Figures:
Size: 90,000 Sq. ft.
Processing Capacity: over 480 tons per 16 hour day
Construction Cost: $ 8.5 million
Engineer: HDR, Inc.
Construction Manager: Chris-Tel Construction
Owner: Lee County
Operator: ReCommunity (formerly FCR)
In 1988 the State of Florida passed the Solid Waste Management Act mandating that each County reach and maintain a 30% recycling goal. Lee County started its recycling program with approximately 800 homes on a pilot recycling route with one truck per week. The recyclable materials were taken to a facility in North Fort Myers and sorted entirely by hand. In 1991 a semi automated sorting system was added. As recycling among the residents of Lee County became more and more popular Lee County started offering it to all residents with regularly scheduled weekly collections.
In 2000, the Board of County Commissioners approved the construction of a larger, high tech, recycling facility at the same Buckingham Road location as its Waste To Energy Facility. This facility was designed to process additional commodities in the recycling stream and handle the needs of the growing population for the next ten years. This new recycling facility was also powered by clean, renewable electricity generated by the Waste To Energy plant.
In January of 2002 Lee County enhanced the recycling program by adding computer paper, office paper, fiberboard, and junk mail to the curbside, multi-family, and commercial recycling programs. In 2004 additional fiberboard packaging items were added to the recycling program. This includes items such as cereal boxes, shoe boxes, gift boxes, beverage carrying boxes, etc.; even pizza boxes.
Looking for ways to provide residents more efficient and less costly recycling collections, the Solid Waste Division started reviewing existing single stream recycling programs within the US. Research and feedback from single stream recycling programs showed increased recyclable material yields, decrease in collection costs and higher productivity. In 2009 the Board approved the approximate 8 Million Dollar building expansion and retrofit of machinery for the recycling facility to accommodate the processing of single stream collected recycling materials. The foot print of the Material Recycling Facility was expanded by 20,000 sqft. The State of the Art processing facility is equipped with electronically controlled conveyor belts, an optical sorter, several screens, and magnets that sort the recyclable material by product. This new facility can process up to 30 tons of recyclable material per hour.
The change to single stream recycling is expected to help all government entities, businesses, and the public reach the 75 percent recycling goal by 2020.