Sims Municipal Recycling Facility

  • Photo by Marc Lins, Courtesy of Selldorf Architects
  • Photo by John Majors, Aerial & Architectural Photos of NJ
  • Photo by Jonathan Chesley, Courtesy of Selldorf Architects
  • Photo by Jonathan Chesley, Courtesy of Selldorf Architects
  • Photo by Marc Lins, Courtesy of Selldorf Architects
Last Updated September 12, 2016

Completed in 2013, this state-of-the-art recycling facility, located at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, is helping the City’s trafficking of recyclables while creating jobs.


At the 30th Street Pier of South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT), a new recycling facility was built using sustainable design practices to minimize environmental impact. Investments in the terminal site enabled much of the City’s recyclables to travel to the facility via waterways, displacing 150,000 annual truck trips and thereby having a positive impact on street congestion.

Project Overview

Built in the 1960s, SBMT was used as a container terminal until it was closed operationally in the 1980s. For the past 20 years, the site has been used as a tow-pound facility by the New York Police Department.

Recently, the entire 88-acre facility was reactivated. The development of the recycling facility was part of the Mayor’s PlaNYC2030 initiative to address waste management in the City; it currently occupies 11 acres of SBMT. Because of its location, the facility utilizes maritime transportation to bring a portion of the recyclables to the facility. Maritime transportation is a sustainable and cost effective way to move freight. By utilizing New York's waterways, the new facility will displace 260,000 vehicle miles annually traveled on inner city roadways which has a positive impact on infrastructure maintenance, fuel consumption, congestion, and vehicle emissions.

The facility includes classroom space where New York schoolchildren will get first-hand experience with the recycling process. The Department of Education developed a curriculum where schoolchildren will learn the theory of recycling in class, then see how recycling takes place at the facility. One to two classes visit the recycling plant each day.

Sims Metal Management is the processor of all plastic, metal, and glass collected by the Department of Sanitation and the City selected Sims to be the operator of the new city-owned recycling facility. With a $48-million investment from the City and a $46-million investment from Sims, the new facility, designed by Selldorf Architects, created approximately 80 to 85 permanent jobs. The facility was built embracing sustainable design elements, including green roofs, renewable energy generation, and on-site storm water treatment among others. In July 2010, the recycling facility won an Award for Excellence in Design from the Public Design Commission. Construction commenced in October 2010 and will be completed by December 2012. Operations commenced in 2013.

The Sims Municipal Recycling Facility is a joint project of the Department of Sanitation, the Department of Small Business Services, NYCEDC, and Sims Metal Management.

News & Updates

Project Highlights

Borough: Brooklyn
Received City’s Award for Excellence in Design
Projected to create 100 new permanent jobs
Will utilize marine transportation to reduce truck traffic
Construction begins Fall 2010

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