ReThink Waste is enjoying a pretty good year in the recycling world so far.
The Shoreway Environmental Center in San Carlos, run by ReThink Waste, earned the Recycling Systems Excellence Gold Award recipient by the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), the top national award for a recycling facility it was announced Tuesday.
The award will be presented at SWANA's annual national conference, WasteCon, on Aug. 14, in Washington, D.C.
In addition, the Shoreway Environmental Center was certified LEED Gold (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) by the U.S. Green Building Council.
RethinkWaste's 5-year, $46 million master plan project to redesign and construct an innovative recycling and transfer facility was the key to winning the SWANA Gold award. It's an attempt to divert as much material as possible from the landfill.
"It is a real honor and a privilege to receive the top award in the country for our efforts to transform the Shoreway Recycling and Disposal Facility into the Shoreway Environmental Center," ReThink Waste Executive Director Kevin McCarthy said. "We have an outstanding facility that delivers cost savings to the ratepayers every day through our innovative facility design."
The new 70,200 square-foot Materials Recovery Facility, where recyclables from residents and businesses in the RethinkWaste service area are processed, houses state-of-the-art equipment designed to handle single stream recyclables (commingled bottles/cans/paper), and replaces the previously existing 48,000 square-foot building.
The Shoreway Environmental Center also includes a dedicated Environmental Education Center housed in the MRF building, featuring museum quality exhibits promoting resource conservation and RethinkWaste programs. The Environmental Education Center is used for tours for schools, community groups and the general public starting and has hosted over 3,000 participants since opening in January.
"This award is a great recognition of our dedication and commitment to reduce waste from the landfill," San Mateo County Public Works Director Jim Porter said. "We are excited to see what other opportunities Shoreway holds for us in our sustainability efforts in the future."
Other features include a new Public Recycling Center, for the free drop-off of materials for recycling, and a buy-back center for redeeming bottles and cans for their rebates. It also includes a new scale house and related traffic enhancements; and green building features such as the use of photovoltaic (solar) panels to generate renewable energy to power site operations, translucent panels to maximize day lighting, and use of native and low-water plants, among others.