Could the Future Be Built out of Trash? A Plan to Turn Plastic, Paper into Wallboard

At Continuus Material Recovery in Northeast Philadelphia, machines sort through trash to find the plastic materials that are used to make fuel pellets. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

At Continuus Material Recovery in Northeast Philadelphia, machines sort through trash to find the plastic materials that are used to make fuel pellets. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

If you go looking for the Continuus Materials facility in Northeast Philadelphia, you might miss it. There’s no flashy sign, no banner, no demarcation at all, really. Tucked away on Waste Management’s property behind a transfer station, the small, unassuming building looks as if it’s merely a part of that company’s operations.

That’s because, in many ways, it is. The business, which began as Continuus Energy, is partners with Waste Management and uses its waste stream to ferret out materials with recycling potential.

“We want the plastic and the fiber — the paper, cardboard,” said Continuus Materials Senior Vice President Rich Toberman. “Eventually, that becomes our product.”

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