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March 11, 2021

USA Hauling plans $30M state-of-the-art recycling facility in Berlin

Contributed Murphy Road's Berlin facility will contain high-tech equipment from Van Dyk Recycling Solutions that's similar to the systems pictured here inside Van Dyk's Norwalk headquarters.

Enfield-based USA Hauling and Recycling plans to invest $30 million to build what it says will be one of the largest and most technologically advanced recycling facilities in New England.

The company announced that its Murphy Road Recycling subsidiary has partnered with Norwalk-based Van Dyk Recycling Solutions, the largest equipment supplier materials for recovery facilities (MRFs) in the country, to build the materials recovery facility.

Frank Antonacci, chief operating officer of USA Hauling, said in a promotional video distributed with the announcement Wednesday that the facility will be “a keystone for the entire recycling infrastructure in the Northeast.”

The so-called All American MRF, slated for completion in early 2022, is designed to improve the purity of the sorted materials it produces, which will help them fetch higher prices from commodities buyers.

The plant will make use of optical scanners to identify and separate single-stream recycling materials based on their chemical makeup. Robotics and artificial intelligence will provide additional scrutiny of recovered materials before baling.

The facility, employing about 50 people once complete, will have the capacity to process about 50 tons of material per hour, or at least 200,000 tons annually, which the companies said would help Connecticut reach its longstanding goal of shrinking -- through recovery of recyclables and organics -- the amount of waste it burns or landfills by 60%.

Recycling equipment at Van Dyk Recycling Solutions in Norwalk.

“We are pleased that Murphy Road Recycling has decided to expand their operations here in Berlin,” Mayor Mark Kaczynski said in a statement. “They have been a great asset in town and we are thrilled that they are making such a large investment in Berlin including the creation of additional jobs.”

The investment comes at a time when many recycling operations are struggling with depressed commodity prices due to China’s crackdown, starting several years ago, on contamination limits in bales of recyclables it will accept. 

That’s forced MRF operators to take pains to remove as much unintended material as possible from bales of cardboard and other recyclables.

There’s also been a significant shift in the mix of materials in consumers’ single-stream curbside bins. There’s less newspaper and more small cardboard boxes and envelopes, a result of what’s known as “the Amazon effect.”

“Today’s curbside material isn’t what it was 10-15 years ago,” said Jonathan Murray, Murphy Road’s operations director. “It was heavy on newspaper and relatively clean.  Today, everyone reads news online and orders everything from the internet.”

USA Hauling’s newly announced investment in Berlin comes after the company, needing more space for a growing number of employees, acquired the former LEGO headquarters in Enfield for $1.9 million

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