In one of our Behind the Scenes Tour series, produced in partnership with the NYCEDC, we brought Untapped Cities readers into the Sims Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT). This state-of the-art, 11-acre recycling facility along the Sunset Park waterfront opened in December 2013, having survived the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy while under construction due to the foresight of numerous flood protection initiatives.

The Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility is the anchor to New York City’s curbside collection program, processing all plastic, metal, and glass collected by the Department of Sanitation. But the location’s technological features extend beyond just the recycling process itself – the building and site incorporate many sustainable elements.

Here are 10 fun facts we learned on our behind the scenes visit:

1. 18,000 Tons of Metal, Glass, Plastic and Paper are Received Every Month

Sims-Municipal-Recycling-Facility-Sunset-Park-Material-Recovery-Facility-Brooklyn-NYCEDC-Untapped-Cities-NYC-005Tipping Floor at the Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility

Each month, the Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility processes 20,000 tons of the residential metal, glass and paper picked up by the New York City Department of Sanitation (commercial waste is not handled by the city). The metal, glass and plastic (referred to as MGP) arrives completely mixed together. It first enters a place known as the tipping floor, shown above, and a front-end loader pushes the recyclables onto a conveyor belt. The conveyor feeds up into a “Liberator Shredder,” a slow-speed shredder with large gaps between the teeth that is used to open up the plastic bags that the recyclables come in. The recyclables fall through along with the ripped open bags.