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Pratt breaks ground on 'eco campus' and solid waste transfer station

Pratt Industries, the paper recycler and box manufacturer, celebrated the ground breaking for its new solid waste transfer station - the first phase of a $13 million "eco campus" that will bring 40 to 50 new jobs to the area.

The solid waste transfer station, which will process about 6,000 to 8,000 tons, is part of Pratt's successful bid last year for the recycling and solid waste collection contract with the City of Conyers for residents and businesses. This will be Pratt's first venture into solid waste collection. 

Myles Cohen, president of Pratt's recycling division, said this was among the many firsts Pratt has had with the City of Conyers.

"This is a project that is very unique, not just for Conyers and the city here and Pratt, but for the United States," said Cohen at Thursday's ground breaking and tree planting ceremony.

"This is the first eco campus that we know of, where everything is done on one site - municipal solid waste, waste to clean energy, paper making, box making, back to recycling."
Conyers Mayor Randy Mills highlighted the city's partnership with Pratt that began in the 1980s and the efforts of public works director Brad Sutton in this project. "Welcome to the greenest community in the United States," said Mills. "We're incredibly elated to have you here."

The solid waste transfer station, which will process about 6,000 to 8,000 tons, will also serve other local solid waste haulers and cut back on fuel that would be consumed from smaller hauls to landfills.

Eventually, about 40 percent of the solid waste collected will be diverted from landfills and either recycled or used in the gasification energy plant on site.

The recycling facility, phase two of the eco campus, will be a $8 million to $10 million project built in 2015.

The 9 megawatt gasification energy plant, built two years ago and now undergoing expansion, generates enough energy to replace the natural gas the paper mill formerly used in the paper drying process, said Cohen. The surplus energy generated supplies about 20 to 25 percent of the electricity used in the plant. The gasification energy plant currently consumes waste material from the paper mill and waste material collected from Pratt's box customers and will consume waste from the solid wastes collected.

As part of its agreement, Pratt will bring on the drivers who had worked for the city and purchase the city's trucks and equipment. The price for customers has also been locked in to the current prices for the next 10 years. "For the residents of the city of Conyers, it'll be seamless," said Cohen.

Local company Sunbelt Builders is the construction company contracted for the transfer station. Local architectural firm Homer Lewis & Associates helped design the facility.

Pratt currently employs about 400 people at its 114 acre Conyers campus, built in 1995 off Sigman Road. The Conyers millugator - the term for the combined paper mill, corrugator and box making plant - recycles more than 1,000 tons of paper daily, according to a Pratt spokesperson.

Pratt is the a US branch of the Australian-based Visy Industries and also has two other recycled paper millugators - one in Staten Island, New York and the latest built in 2009 in Shreveport, La. - along with more than 50 box plants throughout the country.