Eight golden shovels awaited the hands of county elected officials and employees from Waste Pro and Metropole Construction as the groundbreaking ceremony for a new material recovery facility got underway Wednesday morning.
The $4 million, 14,000-square-foot expansion of the existing south Manatee location will handle the new influx of curbside recycled materials after Manatee County implements a single-stream system on Oct. 1, processing up to 2,000 tons per month of glass, metals, plastic, paper and cardboard from businesses and residents from the portion of Manatee County served by Waste Pro.
The facility, which will have advanced single-stream technology from California recycling manufacturer CP Manufacturing, will add 20 jobs to the company.
“Obviously, this is a pretty special moment where both the private sector and public sector is coming together to accomplish something special,” said Sean Jennings, division manager of Waste Pro Manatee.
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Right now, recycled materials are sent to Recycle America in Sarasota and transferred to be processed at a Waste Pro facility in Hillsborough County. Sean Jennings said the new facility will help the county reach its goal of diverting 75 percent of waste from the landfills by 2020.
County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh greeted the crowd with a “Yay.”
“Not only are we going to have great, clean recyclables, but we have a millennial in management right here,” Baugh said. “That says a lot.”
John Jennings, Waste Pro CEO and Sean’s father, spoke proudly about his son to a crowd of about 35 people and said his son becoming division manager “means everything” to him.
He said he sent Sean to work for a year on the back of a garbage truck and at a landfill in Alajuela, Costa Rica, a country Jennings said is very green.
“He learned the hard way,” Jennings said.