Atlantic coast to rebuild recycling center after fire

Atlantic Coast Fibers has overcome another hurdle in its efforts to rebuild a recycling plant to replace the one in Passaic destroyed by fire in January 2021.

The recycling plant proposal, which calls for a “slightly larger” facility than the one that was destroyed, has been approved by the city’s planning board.

Chris Riviello, one of Atlantic Coast’s owners, said while his company still needs state approval to rebuild, it hopes to begin construction in the fall.

The facility will be 118,000 square feet, Riviello said, adding, “We’re still in the final design stages.”

The old building, which was about 100,000 square feet, burned for days after a fire broke out on a freezing January night.

If it receives final approval and is built, the $20 million recycling processing plant will rehire 110 of the approximately 130 employees who lost their jobs due to the fire.

“Some of them have been with us for 20 years,” Riviello said of the employees. He said he expects a reduction in staff “due to increased efficiency”.

Before it burned down, the $11 million plant was one of New Jersey’s most modern and efficient single-stream recycling facilities, the company’s website says.

Passaic firefighters continue to put water on Atlantic Coast Fibers days after a fire destroyed the recycling facility.

The company now ships much of its business to other recycling sites in the state, including the other Atlantic Coast site in Ocean County.

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Since the 1930s, the company has seen an almost continuous stream of trucks hauling bales of newspapers, bins of glass jars and sheet metal to its 5-acre property at Seventh and Lodi streets in Passaic.

It was started as Rivsec Recycling by the Riviello family and was eventually renamed Atlantic Coast Fibers Inc. in the 1980s. There were several mergers and acquisitions over the past decades, but the company was eventually sold to the original owners in 2003.

Firefighters battle a fire at the Atlantic Coast Fibers recycling plant at 101 7th St. in Passaic on Saturday, January 30, 2021.

The return of jobs and property taxes is good news for the city, Mayor Hector Lora said.

Prior to the fire, Atlantic Coast was paying approximately $122,000 in property taxes. The 5.2 acres of land is valued at $1.79M and brings in $67,000 in property taxes without a building.

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“Once the fire started, we had to remove the value of the improvement but still collect property tax,” Lora said.

An added benefit is that the 5 acres of Atlantic Coast includes a section along the river, which would allow the city to continue to assemble rights of way for a river walk that could eventually stretch from Market Street to Monroe. Street.

As part of the approval, Atlantic Coast agreed to grant the city a 16-foot-wide easement for the boardwalk.

Riviello said if plans stay on track, the new facility should open in the third quarter of 2023.

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