Recycling Works.....if you know the
ins and outs
What goes in...or gets left out...of the recycling bin, that is!
Recycling Reviewed, part 2
by: Leslie Jones
Can you spot the recycling in this trash container? Well, not only is it in there, but it’s staying in there. I mean, is it possible that a trash truck can compact several hundred pounds of waste material, dump it at a transfer station, take perfectly clean, untorn recycling bags out of it, and send it to a materials recycling facility (MRF) for use in manufacturing other products? It’s possible...but not very probable. Statistics show that this method of taking recycling materials mixed with trash to a dirty MRF for separation and eventual processing at a recycling facility can have very poor results.
A MRF is a facility designed to receive, sort, and bundle recyclable items. A clean MRF accepts recyclable material that have been separated at the source from municipal solid waste (MSW). A dirty MRF accepts solid waste mixed with recyclables then tries to separate out recyclable materials through manual and mechanical sorting. “The sorted recyclable materials may undergo further processing required to meet technical specifications established by end-markets while the balance of the mixed waste stream is sent to a disposal facility such as alandfill.”*
“Depending on the design of the MRF, the quality of the separated product will vary significantly. Mixed MSW received at the facility poses the greatest challenge to ensuring separation of clean, quality product. For this reason it is advantageous to require some initial separation, ideally by the waste generator, well in advance of collection. Having recyclables picked up separately from the non-recyclable wastes best ensures adequate separation.
The success of recovery at the MRF is variable, depending on the processes used, but recovery from a dirty MRF is obviously much less than we would expect for a source-separated system.”**
So, amidst the uneaten food, eggshells, diapers, bathroom trash, and droppings from your yard, sits the bag of clean recycling that you spent all that time rinsing and sorting so it was clean and ready to be sent off to manufacture other products...and stay out of the landfill. How would you feel if I told you that “a dirty MRF recovers between five and 45 percent of the incoming material as recyclables, then the remainder is landfilled or otherwise disposed.”*** That seems like a lot of effort, time and energy for only 5 to 45 percent.
Would you feel better about recycling if the recovery rate went to double that? How about 18 times that rate?? Well, “more than 90 percent of the material entering a clean MRF is processed and made ready for sale.”*** Recycling Works is a clean MRF, operating in your best interest and in the best interest of the environment ensuring that your recycling efforts are followed through and not wasted!