MassDevelopment

50,000-Square-Foot Recycling Facility GreenWorks Opens in Peabody

January 13, 2015 : The Salem News, by John Castelluccio


PEABODY — The Motzkins are barreling further into the recycling industry.

The family has invested in a new, multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art recycling plant that just opened on Route 1 in Peabody at the site of the former Carriage House Motel.

GreenWorks is the result of a dream shared by James Motzkin Sr. and his son James Jr. Together, they already operate one of the largest waste and recycling hauling services in the greater Boston area — JRM, which is headquartered in Peabody further up Route 1 and collects curbside trash and recycling in cities and towns from New Hampshire down to Rhode Island. JRM also provides dumpsters to many commercial customers.

The company was founded in Gloucester in 1995 and has increased its focus on local recycling over the years.

About six years ago, the Motzkins envisioned building a new, state-of-the-art facility to serve all their clients, greatly expanding their presence in the recycling industry and providing educational opportunities for the public to learn more about the benefits of recycling to the environment and the economy. They created GreenWorks as a separate venture to process and market recyclables to manufacturers.

“Recycling has grown significantly over the past 20 years from an idea to a way of life,” said James Motzkin Jr. during a recent open house and ribbon cutting at the facility that drew a crowd of about 100 people. “This has been a dream of my family’s for a long time.”

“When I first heard about this project I was excited for a couple of different reasons," Mayor Ted Bettencourt said. "Prior to this facility being built, it was kind of a rundown, unsightly motel that occupied this area.” GreenWorks is a big improvement, he said and added that the facility adds significant revenues to the city’s tax base along with more opportunities to partner with JRM and GreenWorks.

State Rep. Leah Cole and Sen. Joan Lovely were also on hand to congratulate the Motzkins last week as well as Essex County Sheriff Frank Cousins.

30 tons an hour

Motzkin said the custom-designed, 50,000-square-foot facility at 109-111 Newbury St. is one of the largest recycling plants north of Boston. At GreenWorks, commercial and residential clients from around the North Shore — including JRM — can deliver truckloads of common materials such as glass, plastic, metal alloys, paper and cardboard, which GreenWorks then sorts and sells to factories, mills and other manufacturers.

Plastics, for example, can be melted down and turned into automobile parts or electronics while different types of fibers can be recycled into paper, insulation, building materials and more.

The process starts with clients delivering loads of recyclables to a large tipping floor where materials are dumped into several truck bays that then feed into a large conveyor machine. The machine automatically sorts each material using a variety of star screeners, optical sorting eyes and magnets. Once the materials are sorted into separate large bins, they are baled or left loose, depending on the clients’ needs.

The entire facility could actually run on its own except for the need for quality control, explained Motzkin. He said several workers staff stations atop the machine to pull out any loose plastic bags, rubber hoses or other materials that are either missed by the sorting apparatuses or aren’t recyclable. At full operation, the facility could process up to 30 tons an hour.

He expects to have the facility at “full throttle” this week and said they would be adding shifts as necessary, working up to a 24/7 operation. About 25 jobs were initially created, which could grow to 40 with 10-15 workers per shift.

The facility is designed with a viewing deck for students and customers to give them a better view of the sorting process and the entire roof is covered with solar panels.

“The main question people ask us is 'What happens to our recycling?’ So now we can show them,” Motzkin said.

Motzkin said financing for the building and equipment was provided by the MassDevelopment Finance Agency and Eastern Bank. Simmee Silton, a vice president at the state agency, said GreenWorks received $12.5 million via a bond program for manufacturing and recycling industries.

A little history

For years, the Carriage House Motel sat on the northbound side of Route 1, offering customers cheap accommodations and keeping local police busy. The motel had also contracted with the state for a while to house homeless families. And then in 2008 the city shut down the motel for health code violations and the Carriage House never reopened.

The property, which sat in a district that required special permits for many uses, was later rezoned to a regional business district along with several adjoining parcels to make the land more marketable. JRM had floated plans at that point for a new facility, but a zoning appeal was filed by the owners of the Dunkin’ Donuts next-door.

Brian Cassidy, in-house counsel for JRM and GreenWorks, explained the suit was finally dismissed after the city switched the zoning back on those parcels in 2012 and the neighbors missed their window to appeal that decision. In the meantime, 109 Newbury St. was sold by the DeCotis family to GreenWorks LLC in 2011 for $2 million.

The motel was torn down and the site cleared, and about two years of actual construction began once the legal issues were resolved.

© Copyright 2015 The Salem News.