On the outskirts of the city of Montgomery lies a brand new facility built for the sole purpose of maximizing the city’s recycling potential. The Montgomery Advanced Mixed Materials Recovery Facility is a sprawling 82,000 square foot building that incorporates a variety of technologies to process and sort trash coming from all over the city. Material recovery facilities (MRF) have been used by a number of cities to recover recyclables from municipal solid waste, but few of them have operated through a single-bin design.

The interior of the new Advanced Mixed Materials Recovery Facility.

The interior of the new Advanced Mixed Materials Recovery Facility.

In a single-bin waste stream, customers deposit their trash and recyclables in the same waste bin. This has the advantage of significantly increasing recycling participation as residents and businesses do not have to sort their own recyclables. The resulting mixed waste is instead sorted at the MRF, but traditional facilities designed for this purpose have resulted in poor recycling rates as such items as glass and paper are rendered unusable.

Montgomery’s new facility incorporates a variety of technologies to maximize the usability of the recyclables that pass through its conveyor belts. The technologies employed at the facility include optical scanners and sophisticated sensors that help identify various types of recyclables, allowing them to be separated from the rest of the trash with great efficiency. All told, these technological improvements will allow the facility to recover 95% of all recyclables at a rate of 30 tons per hour; with an overall landfill diversion rate of 80%.

The company behind the new recycling plant, Infinitus Renewable Energy Park (IREP), plans to expand the facility’s capabilities to include an anaerobic digester built and operated by Zero Waste Energy. Once online, the MRF will be able to divert the organic waste coming into the facility and use it to generate electricity.

The facility was officially switched on just yesterday, a full two months ahead of schedule. The city calculates that the operations of the MRF will help save $1.8 million of its annual budget, helping to pay off the facility’s price tag of $35 million well within 20 years.

Source: Recycling Today