Orange County, Florida, eyes new recycling facility

Orange County, Florida, eyes new recycling facility

County seeks to form public-private partnership to design, construct and operate new MRF.

June 4, 2019

Orange County, Florida, is seeking to establish a public-private partnership to develop and implement a new material recovery facility (MRF). County commissioners released a request for information ahead of a planned release for a request for proposal (RFP) to start the new MRF project.

The county says its MRF has “long served the region” but is no longer operational because the processing equipment is near end of life. Orange County, the nation’s seventh fastest growing county, is one of the few areas in the United States without “competitive residential recycling processing infrastructure,” the county says.

When the county's MRF was operational, the facility processed more than 8,000 tons of residential and commercial recyclables per month. Currently, the MRF acts as a transfer station, and recyclables collected through the residential program--40 percent paper, 10 percent plastic and 6 percent glass--are shipped to outside MRFs 40 to 100 miles away as a result of the lack of local recycling infrastructure, the county says. The county’s current contract for recyclables processing and marketing expires July 2020.

Orange County is looking to establish a single-stream recycling program for paper, cardboard, plastic, metal, glass and other packaging, as well as infrastructure for industrial, commercial and institutional (IC&I) recycling. It says it would consider “alternative processes” if they provide an “advantage” to pricing and recovery.

When Orange County switched from dual-stream recycling to single-stream in 2016, contamination in recyclables delivered to the MRF increased, according to a recycled materials composition study contracted by the county. Since then, the county has implemented a Recycling Quality Improvement Program, which it received a $193,000 grant from Falls Church, Virginia-based The Recycling Partnership in March 2019 to support the long-term project to improve recycling quality.

Through the project, the county is seeking information from recycling processors, equipment and technology manufacturers and MRF designers for a “long-term solution” to recycling, as well as information on the latest emerging technologies and trends and a timeline for the project. The county’s goal is to begin a procurement process within the next six-12 months.

“We encourage and welcome participation by processors, equipment manufacturers, end-market representatives and other industry experts to aid Orange County in delivering to its residents and the surrounding region an advanced and cost-effective recycling facility,” says David Gregory, manager of the Solid Waste Division for Orange County Utilities.