Solid waste recycling facility goes online in Santa Barbara, California
Image provided by Van Dyk Recycling Solutions

Solid waste recycling facility goes online in Santa Barbara, California

The ReSource Center will expand recycling capabilities and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the processing of organics.

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A new solid waste recycling operation has recently begun operations at the Tajiguas Landfill in Santa Barbara, California, reports KCLU.  

The $130 million project was built in conjunction with Mustang Renewable Power Ventures, a Newport Beach, California-based waste recovery developer, as well as Santa Barbara County and some of its cities.

The material recovery facility (MRF), called the ReSource Center, will reduce the amount of trash that needs to be landfilled by more than 60 percent, create green electricity and natural gas and extend the life of the landfill by a decade.

As previously reported by Waste Today, the MRF contains two 3D trommel screens, various sizing screens, air density separators, three elliptical separators and 11 optical units that will recover and separate paper and containers from the municipal solid waste (MSW).

The recyclables captured at the MRF will be baled and sold, while the organics will move to the second phase of the project, the anaerobic digestion facility. Here, organics will be broken down and turned into compost and renewable energy. The energy generated by the facility will be used to power roughly 2,000 homes per year, and the organic residuals will eventually be recycled into fertilizers for local farms.

Gas produced from the site’s existing landfill gas (LFG) collection system also will be used to power the county’s refuse trucks.

John Dewey, CEO of Mustang Renewable, told KCLU that while some of the technology is being used in other places, this is the “first spot in the country to combine all of these efforts to maximize recycling.”

The project has been in the works for 15 years, with planning first beginning in 2006. Santa Barbara County Deputy Public Works Director Leslie Wells says the department spent years doing environmental impact reports and negotiating contracts, while also having to battle a number of lawsuits filed by those worried about environmental impacts.

County Public Works Direct Scott McGolpin says the facility is a great example of a public-private partnership with companies like Mustang Ventures working with the county, and many of the county's cities, to do something groundbreaking.