Casella Waste opens new Zero-Sort recycling facility

Casella Waste Systems, Inc. celebrated the grand-reopening of their newly renovated, state-of-the-art recycling center, located in Charlestown, Massachusetts.

The Charlestown center is a zero-sort (single stream) recycling facility. All recyclable materials come to the facility completely unsorted. With eight optical sorters, seven disk screens and three magnets throughout the facility, the material is sorted as it arrives and is processed through the facility. Casella’s zero-sort facility has the ability to process 45 tons per hour of material and currently processes 750 tons per day.

The new facility was retrofitted beginning in September 2008. With municipalities looking towards single-stream recycling as a way to save money, Casella recognized there would be a need for such a facility located in Boston. A similar Casella facility is located in Auburn, Massachusetts to serve the central region.

“Casella undertook this multi-million dollar renovation because we believe single-stream recycling is the wave of the future,” said John Casella, president and CEO of Casella Waste Systems. “By going to a Zero-Sort process, municipalities can save money on trash disposal while increasing the rate of recycling among residents and local businesses.”

The City of Boston began zero-sort recycling with Casella in July 2009. Residents of the city are no longer required to separate paper and plastic waste items, combining everything in one 64-gallon wheeled barrels. Residents place all their recyclables in the barrels, including paper, plastics, glass, and cardboard.

The cost of disposing of solid waste in landfills averages $80 per ton. Casella has found that by going to a Zero-Sort process, towns and cities can increase recycling by upwards of 40 percent and decrease solid wastes by more than 20 percent, due to the ease and convenience of recycling without sorting.

In 2007, the Town of Holden, Massachusetts began zero-sort recycling. The initial goal was to increase the recycle rate of the town from 13 percent to 30 percent. In the first two months of the program, the recycle rate for the town went to more than 35 percent, saving the town significant money in the area of solid waste collection and disposal.