Peconic Recycling and Transfer Corp. may be Long Island, New York’s newest recycling facility on the East End, but the family in charge of operations has been serving the region’s East End for more than four decades.
Owner and operator Jon DiVello’s grandfather opened Mattituck Environmental Services, formerly Mattituck Sanitation, as a hauler of waste and recyclables more than 40 years ago in Long Island’s North Fork peninsula.
Today, DiVello, along with owner and operator Stanley Lomangino, run both the Mattituck hauling business as well as Peconic Recycling. The owners moved Mattituck Environmental Services’ headquarters from its Wickham Avenue address to Peconic Recycling and Transfer’s Commerce Drive location in Cutchogue, New York. The owners say it is years of experience in the industry that led to the February 2015 opening of Peconic Recycling and Transfer.
Experience also is what led the owners to open Long Island’s only material recovery facility (MRF) on the East End that is capable of processing both construction and demolition (C&D) debris and municipal solid waste (MSW). The 34,000-square-foot facility can process up to 200 tons of C&D materials and 50 tons of MSW each day, Lomangino says.
The Lomangino family is the founder of Southern Waste Systems (SWS)/Sun Recycling, Davie, Florida, which was acquired in early 2016 by Waste Management Inc. of Florida. The acquisition by the Houston-based Waste Management subsidiary included the operations and assets of 12 SWS/Sun Recycling facilities in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. More information on the history of that company is available in the cover story “Building on Success” in the January-February 2015 issue of Construction & Demolition Recycling.
Peconic’s system runs C&D debris, from wood to concrete, several days a week. MSW materials—plastics, paper, cardboard and metal—are processed on the other days. The company’s 25 employees work one shift, Monday through Friday and a half day on Saturday.
“We have perfected the systems over the years,” says Lomangino. “There is no one in our marketplace with the same capabilities [as Peconic].”
Prior to Peconic’s opening, Lomangino says C&D debris on Long Island’s East End was landfilled. “We saw a need and filled it,” he says. He acknowledges while there are other recyclers on Long Island sorting materials, “there has been no real sophisticated system in place in the area.”
Part of that sophistication stems from the modified vibratory equipment installed in the overall processing system. Lomangino describes how Peconic Recycling worked closely with equipment manufacturer General Kinematics (GK), based in Crystal Lake, Illinois, to design primary and secondary screens with the ability to handle multistream materials.
The result: a modified version of GK’s SXS screen paired with the equipment company’s De-Stoner, which separates materials by density. The modified version of the SXS finger-screen has a much longer stroke than the traditional SXS screen, says Dick Reeves, GK’s market director for the resource recovery industry.
Reeves explains that the different classifications of material types seen in C&D loads versus MSW loads means they react to the processing equipment differently. MSW loads are less dense and have less elasticity, he says. Combine that with vibration, Reeves says, and materials like plastic bags absorb more energy than a concrete block. The modified finger-screen allows Peconic to process both material types effectively, he says.
“We developed this longer stroke to get past that elastic range and move material better,” Reeves says. “The plastic bags and yard waste are typically more lightweight materials and more spongy.”
Lomangino says Peconic Recycling is the first facility to use the modified finger-screen technology. GK has since sold the longer-stroked screen to other facilities, and has even developed a second generation of the SXS modified screen. Reeves notes that the tandem front and back design went through engineering plans during the first quarter of 2016 and should be ready to sell by the end of the year. “The second generation is not out yet, but it should make a significant difference in processing these lighter-weight materials,” Reeves says.
LESS TO LANDFILLS
Peconic Recycling and Transfer collects materials from municipalities, counties, third-party hauling companies, roofers, landscapers and the general public. Dominic Testa, Peconic’s recycling operations director, says incoming C&D materials derive mostly from new construction, building renovations and demolition projects. The MRF recovers up to 60 percent of the inbound materials it receives.
Testa says rather than merely send all recyclable materials to landfill, as was the case before Peconic’s opening, the MRF is creating revenue streams. Additionally, without recycling, a lack of disposal facilities could cause Long Island to prematurely fill its two landfills, Lomangino says.
Testa agrees. “We’ve purchased the latest recycling technology to recover as much as possible from the waste stream thereby reducing what goes to landfills or incinerators,” he says.
Lomangino adds, “We have experience in recycling both [C&D and MSW] materials and the more material types that are processed, the better it is for the environment and less materials that are going to landfills.”
The primary goal of the New York facility is to reduce the amount of materials sent to landfill by weight, notes Reeves. “It’s important to pull these commodities out,” Reeves says, adding, “Even if they don’t get paid for that material, they’re still ahead because they got paid to tip it on the floor. They’re ahead of the game because they diverted from landfill.”
EDUCATION IS ESSENTIAL
Sending even less to landfills starts with receiving even less contamination at the facility. Likewise, the success of recycling starts with the generator, says Patti Hamilton, director of marketing and communications for Peconic Recycling and Transfer. From businesses to municipalities, Hamilton says engaging the community and education are key to curtail contamination.
“On Long Island’s East End, where we’re the only facility like this, the onus comes back on us to educate the generators,” Hamilton says. “Helping to educate on how to make recycling successful would be amongst the core values important to the company.”
She continues, “[The generators] need to know what’s available to them beyond just putting something in a landfill, and we’re engaged in the community.”
Hamilton adds that Peconic receives “requests constantly” for MRF tours, mostly from schools. These tours allow students to see firsthand how materials are sorted, and learn the value of putting less contaminants in recyclable loads.
Testa says school groups have walked the facility, including recently a robotics club from a local junior high school, to observe and learn. He gave a number of presentations in April at elementary schools for Earth Day, where he says he invited students to tour the MRF.
Lomangino and Hamilton say in addition to educating on what is acceptable in incoming loads, educating regulatory agencies on the MRF’s processes is key.
Wood is one issue Lomangino says needs to be addressed. “The restrictions are severe on how wood needs to be handled. As a result, we are filling the two remaining landfills on Long Island with wood because the regulations are so tough,” he says.
“There is a real need to educate the (New York) Department of Environmental Conservation to open the markets for recycled products,” he adds.
Hamilton says it is Peconic’s goal in the coming year to continue to develop relationships with regulators. “We want to bring them in, show them the facilities and what we’re doing, because it is a new arena for them,” Hamilton says. “We hopefully can be a positive participant in that regulation.”
Ultimately, Lomangino says, “Education about C&D recycling is important.” He says Peconic is determined to deliver that information.