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Materials recovery facility

A materials recovery facility or materials reclamation facility (MRF -- pronounced "murf") is a specialized plant that receives, separates and prepares recyclable materials for marketing to end-user manufacturers. Generally, there are two types - clean and dirty MRF's.


Clean MRF

A clean MRF accepts recyclable materials that have been collected in comingled wastes from kerbside collection separated at source from municipal solid waste generated by either residential or commercial sources. There are a variety of clean MRF's. The most common currently are 2-stream MRF's, where source-separated recyclables are delivered in the form of a mixed food and beverage container stream (typically glass, ferrous metal, aluminum and other non-ferrous metals, PET [No.1] and HDPE [No.2] plastics) and a mixed paper stream.

The composition of the mixed paper stream can vary considerably, depending on the marketing arrangements that are available to the MRF operator. A typical mixed paper stream will consist of old newspapers with their inserts, old magazines and kraft (brown) paper bags. Some MRF's are able to handle a mixed paper stream consisting of a wider variety of paper types that includes old corrugated, junk mail, telephone books and even paperboard.

Dirty MRF

A dirty MRF accepts a mixed solid waste stream and then proceeds to separate out designated recyclable materials through a combination of 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 a landfill.

The percentage of residuals (unrecoverable recyclable or non-program materials) from a properly operated clean MRF supported by an effective public outreach and education program should not exceed 10% by weight of the total delivered stream and in many cases it can be significantly below 5%.[citation needed] A dirty MRF recovers between 5% and 45% of the incoming material as recyclables,[citation needed] then the remainder is landfilled or otherwise disposed.


  New mechanical biological treatment technologies such as the ArrowBio Process are now beginning to utilise wet MRFs.[1] This combines a dirty MRF with water which acts to density separate and clean the output streams. It also hydrocrushes and dissolves biodegradable organics in solution to make them suitable for anaerobic digestion.

See also


  1. ^ ArrowBio Process Finstein, M. S., Zadik, Y., Marshall, A. T. & Brody, D. (2004) The ArrowBio Process for Mixed Municipal Solid Waste – Responses to “Requests for Information”, Proceedings for Biodegradable and Residual Waste Management, Proceedings. (Eds. E. K. Papadimitriou & E. I. Stentiford), Technology and Service Providers Forum, p. 407-413
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Materials_recovery_facility". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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