Montgomery County is celebrating a milestone at its award-winning Resource Recovery Facility (RRF) which has recently processed its 10 millionth ton of post-recycled municipal solid waste to recover clean, renewable energy.
Since its start of operation in 1995, the RRF has played an important role in the County’s nationally and internationally recognized integrated solid waste management system. Montgomery County’s system follows a waste management hierarchy of first reducing waste and recycling to the greatest extent possible, then recovery of energy from disposed waste, followed by minimal landfilling.
By processing 10 million tons of waste at the RRF, the County has:
• Produced 5.7 billion kilowatt hours of renewable energy in the form of electricity, enough energy to power all the single-family homes in the County for two years;
• Offset about 10 million tons of greenhouse gases, the equivalent to taking about two million cars off the road; and
• Recycled 260 thousand tons of metal, enough steel to replace more than 1,100 miles of railroad tracks running from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans.
In order to avoid truck traffic and the resulting vehicle emissions, the RRF uses a unique rail system to transfer waste. All waste to be processed at the RRF is first delivered to the centrally located Shady Grove Transfer Station in Derwood, where it is compacted into containers and loaded onto railcars for the 20-mile trip to the RRF in Dickerson.
“The people living and working in Montgomery County have reaped tremendous benefits, both economically and environmentally, from the energy production at the RRF and from keeping trash out of landfills,” said Bob Hoyt, director of the Department of Environmental Protection that includes the Division of Solid Waste Services. “The RRF is an essential component of the County’s cutting-edge solid waste strategy, which also includes the ambitious goal of recycling 70 percent of our waste.”
Today, Montgomery County also continues its longstanding practice of expanding waste reduction and recycling opportunities and programs, which has resulted in achieving the highest recycling rate, and waste diversion rate, of any jurisdiction in the State of Maryland.
The RRF is owned by the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority and operated by Covanta Montgomery, Inc.
More information about the facility is available online at the RRF page.
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Media contact: Bonnie Ayers, 240-777-6507
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Technical contact: Bill Davidson, 240-777-6409