On April 7, 2022, the San Antonio City Council approved an ordinance that gave Balcones Resources, Inc. (hereinafter "Balcones") a 15-year municipal recycling contract with the City of San Antonio. In San Antonio, Balcones will construct and manage a cutting-edge, 200,000-square-foot, $47 million recycling education center. The facility will set a new standard for a recycling campus by integrating wellness and community engagement programs for employees with the most recent recycling technology innovations. The agreement is expected to start on August 1, 2024.
For establishing this plant, CP Group, San Diego, has been selected as the equipment supplier by Balcones Resources.
Balcones claims that the equipment is the most cutting-edge in the industry in terms of automation and technology. With five to ten manual sorters, the material recovery facility (MRF) is the most advanced in the nation. The residential and commercial recycling streams in San Antonio will be served by the MRF, which will have a processing capacity of fifty tonnes per hour. For the benefit of the expanding distribution infrastructure in the region, it will be incorporated with the capacity to process large volumes of post-commercial, postindustrial paper, and plastic scrap.
This design incorporates the most recent advancements in automation and MRF technology. According to CP Group design engineer Branden Sidwell, the system will be operational with as few as five sorters. Material fractionating, automated recovery and quality control of nearly every commodity all contribute to this extremely low headcount.
The facility will feature technological and processing advancements, such as auger screens that eliminate the presort station, according to CP Group's press release. The MRF will produce a clean Old Corrugated Cardboard (OCC) end-product by scalping material that is less than six inches using a CP Primary Auger Screen and material that is less than eight inches using two patented OCC Auger Screens. Because these three machines are situated prior to any sorters, they make it possible to sort fractionated material streams in the future efficiently.
OCC and other bulky materials are removed from the automated recovery process by the screens. The material is sent to a four-deck glass breaker screen and LightsOut ADS to remove and clean the glass. The material is then sent to two high-volume disc screens: a CPScreen for the small fraction and a CP AntiWrap Screen for the midsize fraction. Conjoined material and fines are liberated in large part by these screens. According to the supplier of the equipment, disc screens divide materials according to their mechanical properties so that automated sorting equipment in the next step can achieve the highest efficiency.
Five MSS FiberMax optical sorters, which operate at 1,000 feet per minute on 112-inch-wide belts, will be part of the system's high level of automation in the sorting process. To accurately sort contaminants, OCC, and fiber, these machines will employ distinct sorting recipes based on the unit's location in the MRF. Three MSS PlasticMax optical sorters will sort polypropylene (PP), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), and PET on the container line. Eddy currents and magnets can remove ferrous and nonferrous materials, respectively. The quality control of PET and aluminum containers will be handled by two MSS AI units.
Adam Vehik, CEO of Balcones, states, "CP Group has been a tremendous partner throughout this process. We knew that their reputation for dependability and consistent performance would help strengthen our proposal because their team collaborated closely with us to design a best-in-class system that would provide San Antonio with superior recovery rates and economic value".
San Antonio's development of a circular economy will be aided by the Balcones MRF. It will be capable of aggregating significant quantities of recycled materials of high quality, resulting in high-quality feedstock that will enable additional businesses to enter the circular economy. The site and building designs are geared toward providing quick turnaround times for city collections, haulers, businesses, and outbound recipients of baled goods.