OEC seeks permission to build recycling facility at McCommas Bluff Landfill
Organic Energy Corporation (OEC) is seeking permission from the City of Dallas to build a multimillion dollar recycling facility at the McCommas Bluff Landfill. The privately owned and operated facility would capture up to 95 percent of the recyclables available from the city’s garbage, while bringing between $5 to $20 million annually to city coffers. The first facility represents a nearly $100 million investment directly into South Dallas and would create a public/private partnership, while the City’s only input would be a commitment to provide the garbage and lease some land.
“Dallas brings 6,000 tons of garbage every day to the landfill,” said Barney Gorey, vice president of public affairs for OEC. “Even with the curbside recycling program over 3,500 of those tons are recyclable products which can be captured and sold. The paper, plastic and metals are worth millions and can begin to bring real green jobs to Dallas,” he said.
Those jobs number 100 per facility and range from non-skilled to semi-skilled at better than minimum wage according to the company. “With 3 shifts running 24/7, we need local labor,” said Gorey. “These are not desk jobs but manual labor with a chance for training and the ability to move up in the organization. We need the workers from South Dallas as much as South Dallas needs us,” he said.
The facility uses people and equipment to mechanically sort garbage straight from the route truck. The system is modeled after plants in Europe where recycling and waste minimization have been necessary for decades. The company also has a reference facility in Roseville, California it designed, which has been operating for over 17 years.
“Curbside recycling is a bad joke in this country,” said Gorey. “We love to think we make an impact, but Dallas actually spent $12 million on curbside last year to resell $2 million worth of recyclables.”
The truth is in the numbers according to the company. A multi-patent pending mechanical separation system uses proven technology to make all the items homogenous, while separating the recyclables from the food and green waste and inert materials. The system has a comprehensive performance guarantee by the manufacturers and systems integrator, backed by a major insurance company.
It’s not a box, it’s cardboard and it’s not a milk jug it’s plastic to be bundled and sold. The plastics, papers and metals are baled for resale while the food and green wastes are put into large tanks to gather the methane they make. “Just like the methane system currently at McCommas,” said Gorey, “the methane is captured and can be used for many different products, or simply cleaned and sold as natural gas, again just like they do at the landfill.”
The company said it can finance the entire operation from the waste generated by the city and revenue share its profits on a 50/50 basis with Dallas. According to Gorey, the total monies given to the city range between $5 million and $20 million annually for a 20-year contract.
“Depending on the waste brought in and the commodity markets for metals, papers and plastics, we can all directly benefit from this facility,” said George Gitschel, CEO. “Then we can look at manufacturing markets for the items we recover, like cans to metal or recycled paper processed to new paper. Those are real green jobs,” said Gitschel.
The company also said resource flow control can add to the total of recycled products. “The extra 5,000 tons daily being buried in private landfills has incredible value,” according to Gitschel. “Millions of dollars of Dallas revenue is being needlessly buried in private landfills, when we can capture that value and give it back to the citizens. It’s their money,” he said.