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MRF of the Month: GreenWaste Recovery Mixed Waste Material Recovery Facility

Published: January 14, 2019


Recycling facility equipment.GreenWaste Recovery, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, has been known in the industry for its use of advanced technologies to recover materials. That company characteristic was recently bolstered by GreenWaste’s move to bring on another innovation: automated sorters with artificial intelligence.

The 52,000-square-foot GreenWaste Recovery facility in San Jose is substantial in size and capabilities. It contains two processing lines that sort recyclables from municipal solid waste (MSW). Those lines originally opened in July 2008.

Eugene, Ore.-based Bulk Handling Systems (BHS) provided equipment for both lines.

A previous subject of the “MRF of the Month” feature, the GreenWaste MRF is being highlighted again because of substantial retrofits announced this summer.

The improvements, commissioned in July, more than doubled the MSW system’s combined throughput, from 35-40 tons per hour to 90 tons per hour.

Specifically, the project added the following equipment: four BHS Debris Roll Screens, one BHS Polishing Screen, one Nihot Single Drum Separator, one NRT FiberPure Optical (fired on either fiber or film), one NRT SpydIR-R optical sorter, one NRT SpydIR-T, one NRT ColorPlus, four Max-AI AQC (Autonomous Quality Control) units, one Max-AI AQC-2 unit and four Nihot Rotary Air Separators (RAS).

MRF Tech Specs.The company also incorporated the Total Intelligence Platform, a new product that provides information on every motor in the facility as well as detailed data on the composition of the recyclables stream passing under sort stations.

It is using the artificial intelligence machinery for a variety of quality-control functions. Four of the “arms” on the Max-AI AQC units work in tandem with NRT optical sorters to clean up the container mix. Another unit, ACQ-2, which includes dual arms, captures containers on the “last chance belt.”

An artificial intelligence machine also separates PET containers that are not included in California’s container redemption program from those that are, ensuring the company only redeems deposits on applicable bottles and cans.

The system processes both multi-family and single-family loads, recovering a variety of materials for recycling and organics for composting.

About half of the MSW received at the GreenWaste MSW processing facility is recovered as commodities or pulled out as residue, and the remaining compostable fraction contains up to 80 percent organic materials. GreenWaste partners with sister company Zanker Road Resource Management, which owns Z-Best Composting in Gilroy, Calif. These two facilities can achieve a combined diversion rate of up to 75 percent.

“We strive to provide the jurisdictions we serve with opportunities to remain ahead of the regulatory curve,” said Tracy Adams, co-CEO for GreenWaste Recovery. “As the state of California continues to demand higher organic material diversion from jurisdictions, the newly upgraded facility is one of the most advanced in the world and will further our ability to help the jurisdictions we serve to meet and exceed these new goals.”

GreenWaste currently receives MSW from more than 330,000 households in several communities, including San Jose, Portola Valley, Los Altos Hills, Woodside and the Burbank Sanitary District.

The facility employs 30 people (including sorters, scale operators, spotters, mechanics, supervisors, equipment operators and others). They work on one shift, Monday through Friday.

This article originally appeared in the December 2018 issue of Resource Recycling. Subscribe today for access to all print content.

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