"Waste Not Want Not” in a Greenbuild 2013 tour | U.S. Green Building Council
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Published on
Written by
Posted in Industry

If you’re headed to Greenbuild, one of the many great tours that you can take advantage of is our Saturday half-day tour, “Waste Not Want Not.” In this tour you'll visit two local recycling facilities, the Richard S. Burns Recycling Center and the Waste Management’s Materials Recycling Facility.

Richard S. Burns

At the Richard S. Burns recycling facility in northeast Philadelphia, recycling is a family affair, and the company website proudly announces that they were part of the green economy before there was even such a term. 

Burns started as a one-man operation in the 1960’s and now employs over 60 employees on a 10-acre site that is capable of handling 1,500 tons of waste daily. 

Waste Management

Waste Management, North America's largest recycler, also maintains an Eco-Complex in north Philadelphia. 

CEO David Steiner believes that as a company, they must move from thinking of waste as waste, to waste as a commodity.

Their 80-page 2012 sustainability report cites efforts in not only in recycling but in green energy, habitat conservation, and fleet efficiency. The comprehensive philosophy that has helped them achieve environmental goals while growing the company year after year, to the tune of over $13.4 billion in revenues in 2011, a year in which green services outstripped the companies traditional lines of business in landfills and rubbish collection.  

The company now has the contract to handle the city of Philadelphia’s residential waste and recyclables. The recycling happens at Waste Management’s Materials Recycling Facility, a LEED-Silver certified plant in north Philadelphia, which provides over 70 local jobs. The plant is capable of processing 240,000 tons of glass, metals, plastics and paper each year, and has helped reduce the city’s waste disposal costs by $10 million a year.

Adjacent to the recycling facility is their new $22-million processed engineered fuel (PEF) plant.

“When in full operation the plant will receive 1,000 tons of waste a day and, at the end of a process that sorts and shreds incoming material, will produce 500 tons of an engineered fuel pellet that can be used in industrial boilers. The pellets will have energy value comparable to coal but will burn more cleanly than coal.  A portion of the materials sorted out by our process, primarily metals and heavy plastics, will be recycled,” says Waste Management’s John Ambrose. 

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