Delaware will eventually have two recycling sorting facilities

After years of driving Delaware’s recyclables out of state to be sorted and sent to different markets for recycling, now it can all be done right here thanks to Delaware’s universal recycling law. 

In effect since last September, the universal recycling law required curbside recycling for all Delawareans with trash service, boosting the state’s recycling tonnage by at least 20-thousand tons, according to Delaware Solid Waste Authority. An increase that finally warranted Delaware getting not one, but two materials recovery facilities, or MRF’s.

Blue River Resources LLC opened up Delaware’s first MRF located on a former brownfields site on South Heald Street in south Wilmington. Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control issued the private company’s operating permit, which has been in full swing since last October. Currently, Blue River sorts and separates about 1,000 tons of materials a week with the potential to sort and separate up to 4,500 tons.    

“Blue River Resources is proud to be the first full-service permitted material recovery facility in the state of Delaware,” said Blue River president Herb Northrop. “We are excited about the opportunity to help support the universal recycling law by utilizing our years of experience and advanced technology to provide cost-effective and environmentally responsible alternatives to landfills for Delaware’s homes, businesses, schools and institutions.”

Meanwhile, Delaware Solid Waste Authority, which manages the lion’s share of the state’s recyclables, has contracted with Charlotte-based ReCommunity and Philadelphia-based Revolution Recovery to open a second MRF that will serve two purposes.

“They’re going to be building a facility right at the end of Lambsons Lane at the Delaware Recycling Center and we expect to have a facility, probably in about 10 months,” said Mike Parkowski, DSWA’s manager of business and governmental services. “One is for the single stream MRF… the other one is for construction and demolition material recycling center.”

This year, DSWA says it is on track to receive 63,417 tons of recyclables statewide, averaging about 1200 tons a week right now.

So… is Delaware big enough for two separate sorting facilities? Parkowski says yes.

“Our goal is to recycle Delaware’s material. I think that in order for another company to process recycling, they’re gonna need to get material from out of state.”

DNREC’s permit allows Blue River Resources to process recyclables collected from New Castle County and the surrounding area, from as far as 50 miles away, covering potentially a four state area including Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey.

“I applaud Blue River’s leadership in being the first to act and take advantage of new materials markets created in Delaware because we implemented universal recycling,” said Gov. Jack Markell, D-Del. “Blue River will create local jobs and strengthen our economy while giving second life to materials we throw away sparing valuable landfill space.”

DNREC says Blue River’s presence will create up to 40 jobs. DSWA says about 40 more are expected once its MRF gets up and running.

First featured a story about Delaware’s universal recycling law explaining where all of your recycling goes after it’s picked up at your curb back in October. You can watch the story below:

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