Zero Waste recycling facility to open in May

Apr 2, 2019

ROCHESTER — Zero Waste Solutions is staffing up in preparation for beginning operations at the new recycling facility in mid-May.

Initially, Zero Waste will employ 50 people to sort, process, sell and ship recyclables that are delivered to the Route 28 plant. Officials see that number doubling as the operation grows.

Located adjacent to a facility operated by sister companies ABC Disposal Waste Services and New Bedford Waste Service, Zero Waste began construction of its plant in 2013, only to have a 2016 fire tear through the work in progress and halt construction for years.

With work restarted and now completed, the recycling plant is nearly ready 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.

Michael A. Camara, CEO of Zero Waste and vice president of ABC Disposal anticipates being able to recycle between 65 and 75 percent of all incoming waste materials at first. The remaining 25 to 35 percent will initially be disposed of as trash. But, as the company’s name implies, Camara anticipates that, with expansion, Zero Waste will be able to turn the remaining material into fuel.

Camara called the new facility one of the most advanced in the world. “This is beyond the norm. We are taking recycling to a whole new level,” he said. For instance, glass will be crushed and processed into briquettes for resale.

Camara said Zero Waste will recycle office paper, mixed paper, newspaper, soda bottles, milk and water jugs, detergent bottles, tin cans, aluminum cans and cardboard. Thirty percent of the electricity in the facility will be generated by 3,500 solar panels installed on its roof.

The CEO, who has been in on Zero Waste planning since its inception, said he wanted to make the 94,000 square foot facility as big as he could, to maximize capacity.

“Our mission is to remove every recycled item and make sure it’s processed in an environmentally friendly way.” he said.

Camara noted that many landfills in Massachusetts have been closed. With landfills closing, he hopes more businesses and communities will turn to recycling and utilize the services of Zero

Unlike landfills, he said, Zero Waste will never run out of room for waste. “Our facility is infinite,” he said. “It’s the kind of facility that keeps going and going.”