$11.6M upgrade increases SF Recology's recycling capacity

- San Francisco's recycling system has received a major upgrade that will allow it to increase its processing capacity by 170 tons a day and better handle changes in the types of recyclable materials coming in.

Officials with Recology and the city's Department of the Environment today showed off an $11.6 million upgrade to Recycle Central, a 200,000-square-foot recycling facility located at Pier 96.

The upgrade includes an advanced metering system for inbound materials, a presorting line with 14 stations, equipment that separates cardboard and glass bottles from other materials, two lines of spinning disk screens that separate paper from plastic containers, optical sorters to separate different types of plastic and a glass cleaning system.

The changes will allow the city to adapt to current changes in the stream of recyclable materials, including an increase in small and medium cardboard boxes from online shipping and lighter plastic containers, as well as new materials in the future.

"With this state-of-the-art equipment, Recycle Central and the sorters who work here will recycle more material and send less to landfill," said Mark Arsenault, regional vice president for Recology in San Francisco.

The improvements are timely given the approach of the holiday season, when trash generation typically increases by around 15 percent.

"Thanks to Recology's continued innovation and infrastructure improvements, San Francisco is now ready to capture more of the recycled material that comes into our homes and businesses," said Debbie Raphael, director of the city's Department of the Environment.

"As we continue to lead the way, we each can do our part to reduce waste by making sure we place all of our recyclables in the blue bin every day," Raphael said.

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