Sonoco Recycling Charlotte

About Sonoco Recycling Charlotte

Sonoco is a world leader in the recycling industry, collecting 3.5 million tons of paper, plastic, metal and other materials annually. Sonoco offers state-of-the-art material processing services and currently serve more than 125 cities and towns throughout the United States. They process more than 200,000 tons of curbside materials annually through Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) in Charleston S.C., Columbia, S.C., Raleigh N.C., and Charlotte, N.C.

Project Description


In the fall of 2009 Sonoco Recycling found that their expanding operation had outgrown their Charlotte facility. Sonoco needed to increase the overall size of the facility while also adapting the space to accommodate a state-of-the-art MRF. The new Material recovery system required the addition of two tipping floors: one for OCC cardboard and another for single stream recyclables. The new processing equipment also required an additional 15’ of vertical clearance above the existing building height. This was a difficult task considering the Charlotte site had very limited supply of buildable acreage on which to expand.


Through careful planning and consideration, the Accu-Steel design team was able to work with Sonoco Management and develop a multi-phase plan for growth. The first phase was to construct the much needed OCC tipping floor. Constructing the 12,000sf OCC tipping floor first allowed Sonoco to quickly expand cardboard processing while continuing to make room for single stream recyclables. The next phase was the addition of a 7300sf Single Stream tipping floor and to adapt the existing space to make room for new processing equipment. The solution was to integrate the existing structural frame into that of the much taller new addition. Although this manner of expansion is slightly unorthodox and requires much more analytical rigor, by utilizing much of the existing structure we were able to reduce the overall cost of the project and save time on the project delivery.

In addition to constructing a custom facility for Sonoco Recycling we also installed the Dust Collection System, Material Processing Equipment, Automated touch screen pneumatic door system. Custom steel Bunkers for the storage of recyclable materials which were equipped with fully automated conveyor and pneumatic door systems, Mezzanine work platforms, equipment access platform, custom stairs and fire escape ladders.

The project was successfully completed in November of 2010. Today the Sonoco Charlotte Facility processes over 100 tons of recyclables every day and is home to more than 50 employees.