• Project: Automated recycling transfer station
  • Goal: Increased productivity, decreased waste
  • Jurisdiction: Hamtramck, Mich.
  • Agency: Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
  • Vendor: Mayfran International Date
  • Completed: December, 2012

The Hamtramck, Mich., Recycling and Transfer Station, which took the place of an outdated operation, has increased productivity 50 times over while cutting waste down to zero.

Hamtramck’s old facility was barely operational, but it did have the proper zoning and licensing from the city, state, and county to operate as a recycling facility. That was enough for some investors to see potential, according to program materials.

However, it seemed impossible to get the old facility up to par. “They had no automated equipment to speak of,” Seth Krueger, president of the new facility, said in a statement. “The whole building was in disrepair, and it was a hazardous environment for the workers.” 

Krueger was referring to the mountains of waste, at times piled as high as 12 feet, on the pick-cycle line. Workers pulled out the commodities that they could pick off the surface, but the rest was hauled away. Krueger estimates the facility was recycling only two percent of what it took in. 

The answer was to simply start over. The existing structure was torn down and a new one built in its place. 

The new facility is 33,000 square feet, and almost completely automated. Surrounded by landscaped greenspaces, the Hamtramck Recycling and Transfer Station stands in stark contrast, both in form and function, to its predecessor.

12 conveyor systems, designed by Mayfran International, were installed as part of the reconstruction. The conveyors feature heavy-duty hinged steel belts with 6 inch flanged rollers with customized start-up and shut-down sequences. Controlled by a universal touch screen controller, the entire operation, plant-wide, can be managed from one location.

The facility now recycles around 50 percent of the materials that come through its doors, with the goal of increasing that percentage in the future. Additionally, none of the material passing through the Hamtramck plant ends up in a landfill.

A portion of the residual, non-recycled waste is sent to the Detroit Renewable Power plant to be used as fuel to generate electricity. Wood is sent out to become mulch bedding or to the Genesee Power Station in Flint, Mich. “We made a commitment to being landfill free,” Krueger said in a statement.

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