The design of the recycling facility took into consideration the centre’s location in the suburbs and proximity to neighboring cities and communities. With the concern that the facility might prove to be an unwanted disruption for nearby residents, the project team decided to implement forest curtains, green gates, and a sprinkler system. Furthermore, fluid communication is a central tenet of the programme and the City hopes to maintain a relationship with those surrounding the centre.
The Buenos Aires Recycling Centre is made up of five treatment facilities which process waste from construction and demolition, organic waste, tree trimmings, plastic, and recyclable material. The Material Recover Facility separates the materials and sorts them into different streams, determining which facility would be appropriate.
Each specialised processing facility has demonstrative massive success. Between January of 2013 and April of 2017, the programme processed 2,248,416 tonnes of construction and demolition waste for reuse in the construction industry. Between September of 2015 and April of 2017, the organic waste facility produced 4,200 tonnes of waste to be used as compost. Between June of 2015 and April of 2017, the tree trimmings waste facility treated 22,4000 tonnes of clippings to be used as mulch and soil stabiliser throughout the city. Beyond minimizing the amount of waste sent to the landfill and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, this initiative makes Buenos Aires a more self-sufficient city by localizing the production of such materials.
The centre treats almost 35% of the waste generated by the City, and is projected to grow even more in capacity. The impact has already been massive in terms of changing the culture of waste in Buenos Aires; in 2012, the city sent more than 2 million tonnes of solid waste to the landfill and only 1 million tonnes in 2015. The facility has demonstrated its capacity to deliver on its central goals of reducing CO2 and methane generated by landfills and increasing the amount of recyclable materials which are recovered and reused in the City; in 2016, Buenos Aires mitigated 36,887 tonnes of CO2 with hopes of mitigating more than 48,000 tonnes in 2017.
The initiative is both environmentally beneficial and cost effective. Sending one tonne of construction waste to a landfill costs the City 35 USD, whereas sending that same tonne to the Construction and Demolition Facility costs just 15 USD. At the current rate of 2,400 tonnes processed per day, this results in 45,600 USD saved every single day. This aspect of the project is particularly notable in the long-run, not just because it frees up funding for the City to address other issues, but because it proves the financial feasibility of even the most ambitious sustainability initiatives. This makes the Buenos Aires Recycling Centre a valuable example for other cities in Latin America and worldwide