WasteExpo 2014: Different approaches to C&D diversion

C&D recyclers in Des Moines, Iowa, and Manassas, Virginia, vary greatly in their operations.

May 13, 2014
Recycling Today Staff
Association Activities Commodities Wood/biomass
Anthony Colosimo, CEO, Phoenix Recycling, left, and Kevin Herb, president, Broad Run Recycling, share their experiences in operating C&D recycling facilities with attendees of Waste Expo 2014 in Atlanta.
Anthony Colosimo, CEO of Des Moines, Iowa-based Phoenix Recycling, and Kevin Herb, president of Broad Run Recycling, Manassas, Virginia, both process C&D materials but have different ways to achieve their high diversion rates. During WasteExpo 2014, held April 31-May 2, in Atlanta, the two recyclers shared their approaches to attendees during a session on the topic of C&D recycling.
Colosimo told attendees that Phoenix Recycling “processes a little differently than most places.” Biomass fuel makes up the majority of the facility’s end products. The company uses a negative sort to eliminate the material that it does not want in the fuel, including metals. It also has an eddy current separator as part of it nonferrous separation system. 
Phoenix produces a biomass fuel through a grinding process and can make its product into a pelletized or fluff form, depending on a customer’s specification. Colosimo estimated the facility achieves an 80 to 90 percent recovery rate from its process. He added that Phoenix does not own a landfill so it needs a high recovery rate “or it will cost us.”
According to Colosimo, biomass has the potential to offset coal consumption. He even referred to the Midwest as “the Saudi Arabia of biomass.” He estimated that the United States uses 45 million tons of coal per year for power generation. He suggested that power plants offset at least a percentage of their coal and replace it with biomass.
“All can co-fire our product if they chose to do so,” he said. “The problem is they are switching to natural gas.” 
Despite switching to natural gas, Colosimo said an opportunity remains to use biomass as a renewable fuel in these power plants that still have existing coal fired boilers, even as they transition to using natural gas.
Unlike Phoenix Recycling, Broad Run Recycling produces a variety of end products from the mostly clean construction debris it receives. Wood, metals, aggregates, wood-derived fuel (WDF), rigid plastics and cardboard are all separated and recycled at the Washington-area facility. Being located in the nation’s capital and becoming a certified facility through Recycling Certification Institute (RCI) has caused the facility to grow, according to Herb.
Washington has a goal of being the “greenest” city in the country, and Herb said, “We needed a way to prove to customers, ‘I really am doing what I say I am doing.’”
He also pointed out that 90 percent of all U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) projects apply for C&D recycling credits. In the new version of LEED, expected to take effect in 2015, companies will earn an additional point for using a C&D recycling facility like Broad Run that has its diversion rate certified by a third party.
Broad Run added five trucks to its fleet in 2013 and achieved a five-month return on investment (ROI) on a baler for rigid plastics, Herb told attendees. The facility is currently processing 650 tons per day and is on track to increase that to 750 tons per day by the end of the year, according to Herb.