Over the past few decades, the concept of waste and recycling has evolved dramatically. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), only 6 percent of the total waste material was recycled in the 1960s. In 2012, Americans recycled and composted almost 87 million tons (78 million t), equivalent to a 34.5 percent recycling rate. These figures help describe how times have changed. Nowadays, there is a different approach towards waste management, greater awareness relating to sustainability, innovative technologies and improved processes that allow for transforming waste materials back into raw-materials for the creation of new products.
Richard S. Burns & Co., based in Philadelphia, Pa., believes in a greener economy, one that simultaneously promotes sustainability and economic growth. The company is a waste recycling and recovery facility, and was founded by Richard S. Burns in the 1960s.
At the time, recycling was not a widespread concept. The company started as a one-person cleanout, and as the company began finding new options and applications for the recyclable materials, it grew to accommodate a 12 acre-property located in the sixth largest metropolitan area in the country. The company’s 60-person team of professionals serves the greater Philadelphia and Delaware valley region, which is home to more than six million people. Ahead of his time, Burns applied the concept of green building. He was able to salvage and recycle materials from those newly acquired properties and use them to develop the new Burns facility.
Most of the waste that Richard S. Burns & Co. collects and receives at its facility comes from commercial and residential construction sites as well as from individual deliveries. The Burns Company is capable of handling 1,500 tons (1,360 t) of material a day and recycle more than 80 percent of the non-hazardous materials into a wide array of ready-to-use products, reducing the amount of natural resources that are consumed for every new product.
The Burns facility is permitted by the PADEP and is able to meet and many times exceed the LEED goals for materials recovery. The company is a recognized supplier of recycled products such as wood chips, mulch, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, various grades of plastics, textiles, carpet, gypsum, carboard, modified crushed concrete, top soil and Barrier.
In order to produce consistent quality-recovered materials, the company relies on its trained personnel and dependable equipment to recover materials. The recycling and recovery operation starts on the tipping floor where the material is pre-sorted and transferred to the proper stream depending on the type of material. Once at the right station, the materials are further sorted and processed to be recycled into raw products. Quality control is very important at the Burns recycling facility; therefore, the sorting process is performed two and three times until the material is free of unwanted debris and the desired quality standards are met. The raw product is then stockpiled prior to shipping.
During the recycling process, Liebherr wheel loaders are used to move the material throughout the facility, requiring the operators to constantly shift from forward to reverse.
“After visiting an industry trade show in Germany and reviewing the features of the Liebherr hydrostatic drive, I instantly saw this as an asset to our operators since we are committed to making sound equipment choices,” said Allen T. Burns, vice president of the Richard S. Burns & Co. “After recognizing the potential value of the Liebherr L556 hydrostatic wheel loader in our operation, I arranged to fly the operation managers and our service managers to Liebherr’s headquarters in Newport News, Virginia. They tried the L556 firsthand and put it thru the paces. In a short period of time we all agreed, the L556’s would improve our production and reduce operational cost as well as our carbon footprint.”
Modified crushed concrete, mulch, wood and top soil are featured products at Richard S. Burns & Co. The L556 industrial wheel loaders stage IIIB/Tier IVi are used around the clock throughout the facility to feed these materials into crushers and move the materials around the facility before being loaded into trailers and transported to end users. These machines are configured specifically for material handling applications. They are equipped with industrial lift arms and a hydraulic quick-coupler system, which allows for a wide range of equipment options to be attached and removed quickly. The machines also feature fluff traps to protect the radiator from damage and contamination in dust-intensive operations. Safety features such as front and rear chassis protection, tilt cylinder and front windshield protection are standard in this configuration to resist the tough environment of a recycling application.
Just as Allen T. Burns, and his team at Richard S. Burns & Co. are avid believers in a greener economy, one that promotes sustainability and economic growth, Liebherr’s top priority is to develop more sustainable and energy efficient machines. This concept is especially important during the machine design. The implementation of energy efficiency technologies such as the hydrostatic drive and the Liebherr Power Efficiency system (LPE) optimizes the interaction between drive components. This system is able to adjust the performance power for every working situation enhancing the efficiency of the wheel loader and providing additional fuel savings (up to 25 percent compared to conventional travel gears). The active approach to energy efficiency gives Richard S. Burns & Co. the possibility to optimize the energy consumption of the equipment used at his facility and both immediate and long-term savings while reducing the carbon footprint of his equipment.
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