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SWACO makes a move to increase recycling

The board of trustees for the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) approved two land lease contracts in January which serve as blueprints for new facilities that will significantly increase the area’s recycling rates. The board approved the agreements with Team Gemini, LLC, a sustainable project design and development company headquartered in Orlando, Florida.

The leases mark completion of contract negotiations between SWACO and Gemini. SWACO executive director Ronald J. Mills also recently signed a contract where Gemini agrees to construct the recycling center and an industrial park that will be powered primarily by renewable energy.

Under details spelled out in the contract and land leases, Gemini agrees to lease 22-acres of SWACO land next to the Franklin County Sanitary Landfill to construct receiving facilities; Gemini will lease 343-acres of SWACO land north of State Route 665, which will house Gemini’s green-energy industrial park. In both cases, Gemini agrees to pay SWACO $1,000 per acre per annum once the facilities are constructed.

The contract also requires Gemini to build at its expense a combined receiving facility, which will be owned and operated by SWACO, and a Material Recovery Facility (MRF), which will be owned and operated by Gemini. Once completed in 2014, Team Gemini agrees to recycle a minimum of 1,000 tons of waste per day that would otherwise be headed to the landfill and pay SWACO $4.81 per net ton for the usable material. This payment is in addition to normal tipping fees paid by haulers at the gate.

Under terms of the contract, SWACO can increase the amount of waste Gemini receives, leaving the potential for larger scale recycling.

Mills said the projects will not affect existing curbside recycling programs. About 60 percent of landfill waste comes from businesses.

“Curbside programs can continue to harvest the best of recyclables. This project is a way for us to increase recycling in what is left,” Mills said. “This project is a tremendous step toward SWACO’s goal of decreasing dependence on the landfill while providing SWACO financial stability where ratepayers ultimately benefit.”

In addition, Gemini agrees to build a conveyor system that will bridge State Route 665 and transport the recyclables from the MRF to processing facilities located in the industrial park. The park is also expected to include greenhouses, a fish farm, an anaerobic digester and other production and industrial facilities. Under the design concept, waste from one center will help fuel another.