New Rialto Bioenergy Facility Could Increase Recyclability of Municipal Solid Waste

Organic waste treatment company Anaergia, Inc. recently announced the groundbreaking of construction on its Rialto Bioenergy Facility, due to be completed by 2020. The facility aims to process 1000 tons per day (TBD) of food waste and biosolids.

In the announcement, the company lists that its goals are to reduce landfill waste and produce usable materials like fertilizer and biofuels. California State Bill 1383, which was signed into law in 2016, mandates that the state must reduce the amount of organic waste (i.e. food and yard waste) that goes into landfills by 75%. While that amount of reduction may seem hard to reach, facilities like the Rialto Bioenergy Facility (RBF) can help us reach that goal.

The RBF will cover 6.2 acres in an industrial area in San Bernardino County, adjacent to a wastewater treatment plant. Expected to be completed by 2020, the RBF will be the largest bio-waste processing facility in North America. It will have the capacity to process 300,000 tons of organic waste, produce 13 megawatts of clean energy, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 220,000 metric tons each year.

The source materials for the RBF will include sludge from wastewater treatment, yard trimmings and landscaping waste, and food waste. Collection of yard trimmings and other green waste is already normal in most communities. Now several municipal waste management organizations in California are already testing food waste recycling by offering consumers roadside pickup of kitchen garbage like food, coffee grounds, and teabags. With large-scale facilities like RBF in our future, it’s easy to imagine that restaurants, grocers, and food processing plants will have a home for their waste that will eventually turn it into fuel they will use to continue their business.

But less obvious benefit to Southern California recyclers will be a possible increase in non-contaminated recyclable materials like plastic, paper, glass and metal, coming from another source of materials for the RBF.

In December of 2017, Anaergia and Waste Management announced the addition of a solid waste processing line to the Sun Valley Recycling Center near Los Angeles. The line will utilize Anaergia’s Organics Extrusion Press (OREX) to extract organic waste from municipal solid waste. In other words, the process will separate organic contaminants from recyclable material. The products will be biosolids – which will be sent to the RBF as material for making biofuel – and fertilizer decontaminated recyclables like paper, plastic, metal, and glass that can be diverted from landfills and recycled as usual.

You may recall the last scene of the movie “Back to the Future,” in which Doc puts trash into a contraption in the DeLorean that converts it into fuel. Maybe that really is the future. If the Anaergia facilities succeed, we can at least look forward to a considerable decrease in additions to landfill mass, and an increase in usable fuel and reusable waste products.

As a pioneer in the recycling industry, Berg Mill is always making progress. With the possible influx of recyclable materials needing processing, we are here to help you handle your plastic, metal, glass, and plastic waste. Contact our industry veterans at Berg Mill Supply for more information.