Somerville Recycling, How it Works and Where it Ends Up

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Sao Joaquim De Bicas – M.G Brazil’s Secretary of Environment Kelly Do Prado Maia checks out a City of Somerville recycling bin.

By William Tauro

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L to Rt: Kevin Douglas of Russell Disposal, Tony Shelzi of ABG Realty ,Brazilian Secretary of Environment Kelly Do Prado Maia, Marco Tulio Braga Mariano of Brazil and Casella’s Representative of Business Development Mark S. Evans

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This past week, Sao Joaquim De Bicas – M.G Brazil’s Secretary of Environment Kelly Do Prado Maia delivered the

warm greetings of that town’s Mayor Luciano Gustavo Do Amaral Passos to the Honorable Mayor Joseph Curtatone of Somerville Ma.

Do Prado Maia recently returning from a visit to Japan there where she was sent to observe how that country’s recycling system operates and functions is now on a two week visit of the City of Somerville observing the city’s recycling systems and operations to bring back home and hopefully follow in some of Somerville’s ideas and recycling procedures.

On Friday she along with Somerville/Cambridge realtor Toni Shelzi of ABG Realty who interpreted the tour in Portuguese visited Russell Disposal, the city’s recycling contractor and was given a tour of the operation by Kevin Douglas of F.W. Russell & Sons Disposal who also invited her to tour the Casella Recycling Plant in Charlestown as well.

The Casella Reycling Plant in Charlestown is where over fifty local Massachusetts cities and towns including Somerville deliver all the their collected recyclable refuse where it will be sorted and later recycled into usable products once again.

Casella’s Representative of Business Development Mark S. Evans provided the secretary with a guided tour of the Casella facility and explained how the operation functions and their modern process of recycling for the 21st century.

Once city recycling trucks drop of their cargo of refuse in assorted piles within the facility the more difficult work begins.

Over two hundred employees work at the Casella Recycling facility in Charlestown within two eight hours shifts with many of them physically hand sifting through miles of automated conveyer belts picking and lifting plastic bags from the piles of refuse so that none of those bags that would eventually get tangled up and damage the machines and bearings that would pose a risk of any damage.

Refuse is then sorted into giant categorized piles by state of the art sifting and separating machinery as well as by hand to separate the plastic, cardboard, paper product,newspaper, plastic bottles and aluminum cans for further recycling steps and processes.

According to Casella representatives “We live in a closed-loop environment. Everything is connected. An innovative approach to managing today’s waste includes the realization that renewing the life-cycle of the products we consume is a critical step in reducing waste. The concept of managing solid waste means giving trash new purpose and a new life. It’s about turning waste into a resource.”

“From our first recycling center in Vermont in 1977, to our current platform of recycling facilities serving 7 states, Casella has pioneered the recycling processing field. Today, Casella is leading the industry with investments in recycling infrastructure, research and development driving the next generation of recycling technologies, and innovative recycling programs that are making recycling easier for our customers.”

Casella empowers the technique of “Zero-Sort Recycling.” Zero-Sort is the single bin recycling services that puts more of your discarded materials back into the world and less of it into the landfill. No sorting of recyclable material on your end makes recycling quick and easy. Just focus on filling the bin and Casella takes care of the rest.

Casella’s Zero-Sort facilities handle many types of recyclables including cardboard, paper, plastic, metal and class that is baled, remarketed and transformed into new products.

Casella Waste Systems was founded in 1975 as a single truck operation in Rutland, Vermont. Their existing footprint stems from a combination of organic growth and strategic acquisitions.

Until the late 1990’s, their growth was focused in the northeast United States with a mission to address our region’s waste management challenges intelligently, through an integrated solid waste platform, including waste collection, transfer, disposal, and recycling processing.

In late 1999, Casella acquired KTI, an integrated provider of waste processing services, and their footprint was extended to cover much of the eastern United States. The KTI acquisition greatly expanded their expertise and assets in material processing.

In 2002, they recognized that additional in-market disposal capacity was required to meet a large, unmet need in the northeast. To develop capacity, they sought to differentiate ourselves in the solid waste market by linking recycling and other leading-edge resource transformation solutions to the solid waste disposal needs of municipalities.

Their SEED™ (Sustainable Environmental and Economic Development) program was conceived of and implemented as a framework to develop disposal capacity in a responsible manner in which the interests of all stakeholders are aligned. With the implementation of their SEED™ program, they have built sustainable infrastructure around their disposal projects that adds economic and environmental value beyond the traditional landfill model.

The concept of sustainability is not new to Casella. For over thirty years the foundation of their business has been built on managing and conserving environmental resources for their customers and communities in a viable economic model. In 1977, they built and opened the first recycling center in Vermont, an early implementation of an environmentally and socially sustainable component to their overall business model.

Today, Casella is leading the solid waste industry with an innovative business strategy that seeks to create sustainable value beyond the traditional disposal model. They view waste as a resource for producing renewable energy and a raw material for manufacturing new products.

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