North Las Vegas receives the crown jewel of the recycling world on November 12 when Republic Services opens the country’s largest and most advanced residential center dedicated to the reuse of paper, plastic, glass and metal. The Southern Nevada Recycling Center, West Cheyenne Road, offers the public a chance to understand what happens to these products once they leave the bin via an interactive learning center and tours of the plant. Len Christopher, general manager of Republic Services, shares a first look at the privately funded $35 million facility.
At 110,000 square feet, this center can process 70 tons of garbage in an hour using the most advanced equipment available, including optical sorters that scan by category, type, color and density, creating a clean end product without any fine organic matter. The building itself also has solar panels so it will be able to generate a portion of its own power.
“Where’s my blue bin?”
“Everyone asks me when they find out I work for a recycling company, ‘When am I getting automated?’—meaning, ‘When will I have one bin for all my recyclables? When do we get rid of the old three-bin system?’ The answer is: We had to build this [facility] to be able to handle the volume. The City of North Las Vegas and the City of Henderson are on the automated system, about 165,000 homes. In Clark County, we have some pilot programs,” Christopher says.
Show and tell
Designed by Fervor Creative, the interactive learning display provides a safe gateway into the recycling center for student and public tours. There will also be access to an observation deck over the machinery for special guests. “It’s going to be extremely cool for people to see what happens with the material as it goes through the system. In the beginning, you see a big pile of recyclables, and by the time you get to the back, we have a warehouse full of finished bails.”
Busting the big myth
Despite what it may look like, your trash and recyclables are not being collected and mixed together. “The truck comes through the neighborhood and collects recyclables, and then the same truck comes later in the day to collect the garbage. So with that truck, they run two separate routes. All the recycling comes here, it is dropped off, then the drivers go back out and fill that truck with garbage and it goes to the transfer station.”
For more photos check below (photos by Krystal Ramirez)