Republic Services Launches Bigger, Faster Recycling Plant

Republic Services Launches Bigger, Faster Recycling Plant

By Matthew Crowley | Special to the Las Vegas Review-Journal
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Thursday, November 12, 2015 - 7:00pm

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Republic Services' new $35 million, 110,000-square-foot recycling center packs a welter of machines, bunkers, belts and sorters designed to process up to 3 million pounds of cardboard, newsprint, glass and metal from around the valley.

The North Las Vegas, plant, to go on line next week, packs state-of-the art technology, including computerized optical sorters than can separate different plastics and glass by color and density; magnetic drums to pull out iron-bearing cans (like the ones for dog food and soup); and balers that can reduce dumpsters full of newsprint to coffee-table-size cubes in a flash. Materials will travel a mile of conveyor belts driven by 200 motors.

Completion of the plant took a year from groundbreaking to grand opening, which will happen with a media tour today. The plant will initially employ 160 people, Republic Services General Manager Len Christopher said, and will add staff over time as capacity increases.

Christopher said his company's existing plant on West Cheyenne Avenue was at capacity and the new one next door gives him state-of-the-art capabilities.

"I joke with people and tell them 'I've been running the Indy 500 in a '69 Volkswagen and I just got the keys to my new Indy car.' So we're light years ahead."

Technology makes everything safer and easier to track and control, Christopher said. For example, a tablet computer lets him track and control any device in the plant. Also, special cables around the plant, called e-stops, can be pulled to shut down machines quickly.

"As you can see how large this place is," he said. "So what we do is we go to plant layout (on the tablet), I push a button. Now look, I just zoomed in and the problem are in the plant) will be flashing red, and I'll know, it's newsprint screen 32.

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CATEGORY: Environment