ROCK SPRINGS — In an effort to improve the Ray Lovato Recycling Centers’ operations, the center is applying for about $575,000 in grant funding from the Recycling Partnership’s Polypropylene Recycling Coalition.
The Center’s Board President Devon Brubaker said the final funding request may differ slightly based on the estimates from the contractors and vendors. The funding through the Recycling Partnership’s Polypropylene Recycling Coalition is part of a competitive nationwide grant program that has $35 million available over several years.
“We have gone through great lengths to research different equipment that would be right for our operation,” Brubaker said. “We have also travelled to other smaller communities with successful recycling programs. The equipment that we settled on as being right for us was observed in Steamboat Springs, (Colorado).” The equipment selected is a “Revolution System.”
The Revolution System is a circular sortation system that allows for an efficient processing and sorting of recyclables. It uses a combination of automation and manual labor to accomplish the task. This system will also offer a single-touch sortation and bailing process, which will drastically improve the efficiency of the recycling center.
The equipment on its own will be around $476,900. However, the center will need to make some modifications to the facility and likely acquire some smaller supporting equipment, Brubaker said.
“We are working through the details of this,” he said.
The grant allows for up to $75,000 of additional funding over the $500,000 cap, if the equipment acquisition allows for the introduction of curbside recycling. This is the intention of the recycling center, he said.
“It is our goal to be able to accept single-stream curbside recycling from Rock Springs, Green River and other communities in the region,” Brubaker said.
To accomplish this, the center would work with the City of Rock Springs and local, private waste haulers to roll-out the curbside program in Rock Springs.
“We would also be able to accept Green River’s recycling instead of it getting shipped to Utah for processing keeping those processing jobs here in Sweetwater County,” he said.
The center is dedicated to serving as the processor for recyclables and wants to stay out of the waste hauling and transportation business, he said.
Improving the Center’s Finances
Brubaker also sees this project as a way to help the center financially.
“Financial modeling for this equipment and program show that we would be able to significantly reduce, if not eliminate, our operational subsidy,” he said.
However, this financial model is based off of a healthy commodity market for the recyclable products. He said this model also relies on charging the waste hauling companies a “tip fee” for dumping the recycling they picked up from residents and businesses.
“We would then process the product and sell it to one of our many brokers we deal with that take the product to market,” Brubaker said.
All of this and the future of the recycling center is contingent on whether of not the center obtains the grant. This is why the center is trying to raise money for a grant match even though it’s not required.
“As we work on the final details of this program, we are in search of local financial contributions that would help us provide a match to this grant,” Brubaker said. “While the grant does not have pre-determined match amount, the greater match we provide, the better chance we have of receiving the grant. It is our goal to commit to a 10 percent local match meaning we would need to raise around $57,000 locally.”
The center is going to launch its fundraising campaign on the upcoming #GivingTuesday, which is December 1, on Facebook.
“We will be rolling out a campaign that day with the hope of taking advantage of Facebook’s match on donations starting at 6 am,” he said.
Donations can also be made on the Facebook page, dropped off in person at the Recycling Center, or mailed to Hall, Noble & Druce in Rock Springs.