Show of support for new Rochester recycling facility
ROCHESTER — State and local government officials and other area businesses gathered to support the new Zero Waste Solutions for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate its opening.
The new facility, sandwiched between Route 28 and 495, held the ceremony on Saturday May 18.
Michael A. Camara, CEO of Zero Waste and vice president of sister company, ABC Disposal Waste Services, said it was a great feeling to reach this point after years of work. The facility began construction in 2013, but a fire stopped the progress on the build for years.
Camara wanted to “shine a light on the fact that here in New England we’ve built a spectacular facility that enables us to recycle the maximum amount of materials,” he said.
The 94,000 square foot facility has a total of 123 conveyors and 150 motors. It can process 45 tons of recycled materials per hour.
Initially, Zero Waste will employ 50 people to sort, bale and otherwise process materials collected from curbside recycling — and send them off to manufacturers in the U.S, Canada, Thailand, Pakistan, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Turkey and (occasionally) China, for reuse. Officials see that number doubling as the operation grows.
“We have a terrible waste problem here in the Commonwealth,” said Massachusetts State Representative Paul Schmid. He added some context, saying that in 1990 legislators set a goal to recycle 46 percent of waste by 2000. Only 36 percent of waste was actually recycled that year.
Rochester Town Administrator Suzanne Szyndlar said the new facility will benefit the community by helping the environment, employing many people and increasing the commercial tax base for the town.
Electrical Controls Engineer Rodrigo Kozama served as a tour guide for the opening. He showed guests how the facility will process waste materials from both commercial and residential sources.
Operators have access to a touchscreen interface at three stations and on two portable tablets. The interface controls speeds of all machines, turns machines on and off and provides updates on energy consumption in kilowatts. The machinery is compact, having taking up less than half of the building’s available space.
Government officials weren’t the only ones to support the project. Other area entrepreneurs did as well.
Margarita Graham, of Reliable Bus Lines and J&J Driving School in New Bedford, attended the event to show support for Camara.
“We support one another, we’re family businesses, and that’s a big deal, especially in New Bedford,” she said.
WBSM Morning Show Host served as the Master of Ceremonies for the event. Assistant Operations Manager of New Bedford Waste Services delivered a prayer for the “Blessing of the Equipment” and Linda Camara, mother to Michael Camara, and widow of the late founder of ABC Disposal Arnold Barros Camara had the honor of cutting the ribbon to officially open the facility.
Guests had a buffet lunch, and a private event for employees was held at 3 p.m. The facility is scheduled to begin operations on Monday morning, May 20.