Photo Courtesy of Marc Lins Selldorf ArchitectsIt is always fascinating to find out where exactly all the metal, glass and plastic that I faithfully recycle each week goes. So last week I toured the SIMS Municipal Recycling Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility, which is the principal facility to recycle all curbside metal, glass and plastic in New York City. It is a central element of Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC 2030 to develop sustainable waste management in NYC. Nestled on the waterfront at 29th St. you can’t miss the 100kW wind turbine which signals you have arrived.
Approximately 19,000 tons of metal, plastic and glass are collected monthly by the Department of Sanitation and Sunset Park MRF can recycle this and more! The facility is also home to the largest solar power installation in NYC. Designed by Sellsdorf architects SIMS MRF was built to optimize environmental performance. It boasts a gravity-based stormwater system using landscape features, bio-swales and a retention pond. Plus the city created 3 artificial reefs for intertidal habitat for both marine and bird lifew hich helps to mitigate the effects of dredging. Lastly, it has an cheerful kid-friendly Recycling Education Center, programming, interactive exhibits and a theater. All in all an impressive facility and worth a visit, especially if you have kids.