The report, “The Evolution of Mixed Waste Processing Facilities: Technology and Equipment Guide,” comes one year after the release of an earlier analysis exploring the mixed-waste processing approach. The June 2015 document indicated optimism for mixed-waste systems as a potential for boosting recovery rates while acknowledging the trade-offs of lower commodity values for some materials.
In mixed-waste systems, recyclables and municipal solid waste are collected in a single bin and brought to a processing facility that aims to separate out marketable material. As more cities have considered the approach, the topic has stirred debate in the recycling industry.
The latest iteration, authored by consulting firm Gershman, Brickner & Bratton on behalf of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), delves into the details of 10 different pieces of equipment used in MRFs and mixed-waste facilities. It covers their histories, functions, capabilities and limitations. It also notes how some MRF equipment has been transferred into the mixed-waste processing space.
“Innovation in the sector continues as both manufacturers and operators of the equipment strive to improve the economic performance of MRFs and [mixed-waste processing facilities],” the report concludes. “The composition of feedstocks remains a critical variable for these processing facilities. However, because of the capabilities now available in equipment, the risk for MRFs and MWPFs has been reduced and the potential for increased diversion has been enlarged.”
In a press release, Craig Cookson, ACC’s senior director of recycling and energy recovery, stated there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for community recycling.
“Mixed-waste processing can offer a unique set of solutions for areas with a high percentage of multi-family homes or [communities] that lack funding to operate separate collection programs for recycling,” Cookson stated.