Come late next year, when the $34 million Southern Nevada Recycling Complex opens, residents can expect a number of changes—like being able to once again recycle milk cartons and juice boxes. But the biggest impact from the new facility, which broke ground November 6, is single-stream recycling, which Republic Services hopes to implement for the entire Valley by 2018.
That means Valley residents who still use the three-bin system will no longer have to sort their recyclables into buckets. Republic Services anticipates the new facility, which will handle a greater capacity, will encourage more recycling because of the ease of using a single bin and an educational initiative that will launch simultaneously, says Len Christopher, Republic Services general manager.
Republic officials say they’ve already seen an increase in recycling in some pilot neighborhoods, as well as in Henderson and North Las Vegas, where the single-bin system has been in place.
Republic serves more than 535,000 households, as well as industrial and commercial businesses in North Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Henderson and Clark County. The current recycling center, which is adjacent to the future site off of Cheyenne Avenue and Commerce Street in North Las Vegas, can process about 25 tons of curbside material per hour. That’s expected to increase to roughly 70 tons per hour. “This year, we’ll do 140,000 tons,” Christopher says. “When this thing is online, we’ll be up to 250,000 tons.”
The 110,000-square-foot Recycling Complex, which is being touted as the largest in North America, will also employ technology that allows workers to help control optical sorters, which are used to assist in separating materials and make the system more efficient; currently, workers have to radio in and manually adjust the machines. “These computers have the ability to identify plastic by density, by the color, by the type,” Christopher says. “We can program it to hit fiber, hit paper, to pull the paper out of the line before the plastics continue through the process.”
The Recycling Complex will also include the Learning Center, which will showcase the new building and host tours, including educational videos, visual displays and a second-level lookout of the entire process, starting with the truck tip (when the goods are dumped) and concluding with the materials being baled and shipped out.