Waste Advantage Magazine

Fabric structures as cost - Effective solutions in recycling applications

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Courtesy of Waste Advantage Magazine

With regulations becoming increasingly stringent and budgets continuing to shrink, recycling and other solid waste facilities are looking for innovative solutions for physical plant upgrades. In order to reduce processing costs and protect the environment, many treatment plant operators are choosing tension fabric buildings.

Glass Recycling – Covered Containers
Tension fabric buildings, or fabric structures, are a unique and economical method for covering containers of unprocessed material for recycling. Without protection from the elements, rain and other precipitation can cause runoff from unprocessed materials and potentially harm the surrounding environment. While processors have traditionally chosen metal structures for this purpose, there are many benefits to choosing tension fabric buildings for this application.

Fabric in Action: Kansas City, MO
Without a curbside glass recycling program, the residents of Kansas City, MO were throwing away 150 million pounds of glass a year. Only 5 percent of its glass was being recycled (well under the U.S. average of 30 percent) because Kansas City lacked a local glass processor. The owner and founder of a Kansas City-based brewery knew that this yearly waste included an estimated 10 million empty bottles from his brewery. With the support of local companies and organizations, he started up a recycling center that processes glass to sell as furnace-ready cullet to a local customer to be turned into fiberglass.

To stay true to the environmentally friendly nature of this new business, he recognized the need to cover the containers of untreated glass to prevent ground seepage and effluent from getting into the Missouri River. After researching the best options for covering these containers, he chose an 83’W x 40’L ClearSpan (South Windsor, CT) Hercules Truss Arch Building. The structure was installed directly over the existing glass containers. One end was left open to allow easy access for trucks and forklifts. Since its start in 2009, the glass recycling company has grown exponentially; their recognizable purple containers can be spotted throughout the city, and locals are actively participating in the new recycling program.

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