San Jose’s New Recycling Plant

Last week, Mayor Reed and the majority of the City Council attended the ribbon cutting for the world’s largest material processing facility in San Jose. Well, it was not actually a ribbon cutting. Instead, we all threw a recyclable object into a recycling bin, but it did the trick.

After the ceremonial acknowledgments, I stayed to tour of the facility, which is located on Dixon Landing Road, an area near Milpitas that was annexed to San Jose. I was amazed at the size and amount of material coming down several lines at the facility. There is a separation of dry and wet materials through optical scanning, mechanical sorting and shredding, and quality control by gloved human hands.

The tour certainly gave me pause on what we collectively throw away and where it is processed.  I viewed many items from toys and sheet rock to clothes and thought of the show Laverne & Shirley.  The start of that ’70s sitcom is the bottling factory scene, which is what I pictured when seeing those individuals sort objects last week.  As you might expect, there was an odor but it was not as strong as I expected.  I only walked the interior facility for 20 minutes, however.

It seems that the waste management industry, once garbage can to landfill, has transformed into recycling and has partially helped fill a void by providing jobs to less skilled workers that used to be employed in manufacturing. Although not prestigious, these jobs do pay well. They may not be very enjoyable as people age, however.  Another example to children on the importance of education to avoid tiring work. The reality, though, is that we as a society still have a need for rigorous work.

This new $55 million facility has the capacity to process up to 120,000 tons of commercial waste material and divert 80 percent from landfill.  This facility was constructed by Republic Services/Allied Waste in the quest to assist San Jose reaching one of the Green Vision goals of zero waste in the future. 

Overall, the good news is much of the commercial waste that used to go to landfill will nearly cease, and by-products will be used for energy and other purposes.  San Jose is actually well positioned with landfill capacity, and I believe we should sell a portion of the excess landfill capacity to other geographies and generate revenue for the general fund.

One of the best events of the year benefiting our Happy Hollow Zoo called, Hoot & Howl is this weekend. For more info click here


    • Thank God for Measure B. The future of San Jose is looking good. If people profess – by way of their comments – to care about San Jose, shouldn’t they let us know if they even live here? I do, and all my kids do. My future is here in San Jose. What about yours?

      • Clueless. Ever think that the type of City worker with the experience and intelligence to assist this project in wading through the mire of development hurdles posed by often anal regulatory requirements may just be the same ones who are prematurely fleeing this “progressive” municipality? So happens this comment is directly relevant to the success cited in this project.

  1. Difficult to believe that we got the world’s largest anything for $55 million.  Wondering if we needed “the world’s largest material processing facility,” given the relatively small population of San Joser. Are we planning on processing refuse for other municipalities for a fair market value fee?

  2. San Jose is actually well positioned with landfill capacity, and I believe we should sell a portion of the excess landfill capacity to other geographies and generate revenue for the general fund.

    I looked at a map.  It looks like San Jose must have annexed everything in the Bay and tidal area that wasn’t already claimed by other municipalities from Alviso right up to the San Mateo and Alameda county lines.

    So did San Jose annex all this Bay and swampland just so it can have enough landfill to turn around and sell landfill capacity back to the adjacent municipalities?  Since none of our own citizens live next to any of these facilities, we can also create traffic, eyesores and smell up the place with impunity.  We really are trying to be San Francisco aren’t we?

  3. I love this city! We’re soliciting trash from every city around us! We can even take trash from our sister cities of Vallejo and Stockton. First we take the human trash and give them free housing via section 8, then we take the material trash and pile it up hiiiiiiiiiii. Higher than my credit card bill for the Tinkers Dam. Yayyyye. I love San Jose.
    Just sayin

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