Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Waste Management's CORe facility is located in Manhattan Beach. The facility is located in Orange and processes material from Manhattan Beach.
- Waste Management has partnered with Anaergia Inc. to fulfill a portion of the organics processing needs from its franchise contract in Los Angeles. Anaergia will install its patented Organics Extrusion Press (OREX) at the company's Sun Valley Recycling Park, per a press release.
- This extrusion system can process up to 300 tons per day into two streams — wet and dry. The wet stream will go to an anaerobic digester being constructed by Anaergia in nearby Rialto. The dry stream will be sent to a landfill.
- Neither company would comment on the financial terms of this deal. The Sun Valley OREX set-up is scheduled to be operational in 2019, by which time Anaergia said the Rialto facility will also be operational. The Rialto digester has a permitted capacity of 1,650 tons per day.
While the recycLA franchise system has been receiving more attention lately for its implementation challenges and customer complaints, it is also projected to spur $200 million in infrastructure investment. According to a recent city presentation, this has already led to the purchase of 260 "clean vehicles." It will also eventually yield a range of new facility upgrades, composting expansions and other projects. Because each of the seven service providers are contractually obligated to provide organics processing — a sector that is still in the early stages, even in California — they have often been looking to outside technology to make this happen.
Last year, Anaergia appeared to have lined up partnerships with both Republic Services and Athens Services. The company cited this in a March 2016 presentation to the L.A. County Solid Waste Management Committee. It was then mentioned when the franchise contracts were presented to the L.A. Board of Public Works in September 2016. The company's name also appears in the contracts finalized for each company in December 2016. Republic intended to send material to a planned digester in Anaheim. Athens would use the Rialto facility. Waste Management's facility utilization plan did not mention Anaergia at the time.
Since then, the Anaheim facility has been put on hold and Anaergia's Chairman and CEO Andrew Benedek confirmed that plans haven't been finalized with Republic or Athens yet. Benedek also said that while the OREX system's dry stream can be used as refuse-derived fuel, it was only happening in Europe. The two other North American applications of OREX are with Recology in San Francisco and the City of Toronto in Canada.
Waste Management has also been investing in its own organics pre-processing solutions — called the CORe system — in four states. One of those systems is located in nearby Orange. When asked how the two systems compared, Senior Area Communications Manager Eloisa Orozco described them via email as "complementary approaches that Waste Management will employ to meet the varying organics recycling needs of the customers we serve."
As many cities and service providers have encountered with organics in recent years, contamination can be a prohibitive challenge to successful programs. This can be especially true of the large volumes and diverse streams being generated by the types of commercial or multi-unit clients that Waste Management is servicing in its recycLA zone. Benedek explained that the OREX is capable of handling all this material, with an even higher tolerance than the CORe, to adapt to the variety of streams coming in each day.
"This is for more contaminated waste," Benedek said. "We find that source-separated organics can be dramatically different."