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WASHINGTON (May 31, 2016) – A report released today by the American Chemistry Council’s Plastics Division finds the main technologies used in modern recycling plants, also known as materials recovery facilities (MRFs), are being successfully integrated into mixed waste processing facilities (MWPFs). 

Both types of facilities aim to divert post-use materials from landfills by maximizing the recovery of marketable commodities. However, MRFs and MWPFs differ in that the former require recyclable materials to be removed from the waste stream in order to be processed, usually through residential collection programs, while MWPFs extract recyclables directly from municipal solid waste.

“Recycling is a critical part of how we make the most of the earth’s limited resources,” said Craig Cookson, ACC’s senior director of recycling and energy recovery. “But when it comes to meeting the diverse needs of our communities, there’s no one size fits all. Mixed waste processing can offer a unique set of solutions for areas with a high percentage of multifamily homes or that lack funding to operate separate collection programs for recycling.”

Authored by Gershman, Brickner & Bratton, Inc., “ Supplemental Report: The Evolution of Mixed Waste Processing Facilities—Technology and Equipment Guide” examines ten types of equipment, such as optical sorting systems; bag openers, which liberate materials from closed plastic trash bags; air separation systems and densifiers, for example. The evaluations typically include the quality of the finished product, the volumes that are captured versus lost, and the speed at which the processing equipment works. 

This Technology and Equipment Guide builds on a prior report, “ The Evolution of Mixed Waste Processing Facilities, 1970-Today,” released in June 2015.

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