Society & Culture & Entertainment Environmental

MRFs - Materials Recovery Facilities and the New Waste Technologies

A MRF which is in fact when described in full a Material Recovery (Recycling) Facility is a waste disposal facility that separates the recycling material before it is sold on and recycled, and as far as possible waste is diverted away from landfill disposal.
You can expect to hear about more and more Material Recycling Facilities being built.
As MRFs come in many different shapes and sizes and are each tailored to their local wastes and markets, they are described in different ways.
This can be especially seen in press releases where the aim is to keep the statements simple.
I recently saw this announcement:- The MRF is the first automated paper sorting plant in the UK.
High-tech equipment is calibrated to produce only fibres which are acceptable to the newsprint manufacturing industry, from such materials as cardboard, Yellow Pages and the Financial Times, and reject all others.
I would suggest that any Material Recycling Facility is more than that, although the ability of this particular plant to do this is to be applauded.
Any MRF must be able to accept what is collected from the public and/or industry and separated those into individual streams of recycled materials before anything else can be done, as none of theses waste will even closely approach just being pure recycled materials.
This is the case even if they have been segregated at source by homeowners or businesses, and there will be many "contrary" items to be removed.
Such wastes even if pre-sorted will be co-mingled when picked up at the kerbside, for example glass with tin cans etc, to simplify collection requirements and keep collection costs down.
Recycling not only reduces the amount of rubbish we bury in landfill sties, it also makes better use of resources and raw materials.
Much of what we throw away will increasingly be used to make something else and materials such as glass, steel and aluminium can be recycled over and over again without losing any of their properties.
Recycling uses much less energy and raw materials than making new products.
More and more materials are becoming suitable for recycling as well.
For example, plastic and polythene bags and mailing wrappers can be sent for recycling in some areas.
Did you know that plastic bottles end up as fleeces, or black plastic pipes and gutters! It is better known to the public that newspapers with 30% of magazines in their content, (to provide the whitening clay needed,) go to make more newspapers.
There are many more examples.
But, don't forget that almost none of this can happen unless these materials pass through a Material Recycling Facility.
With such an unromantic name the humble MRF can get forgotten, along with the dedicated and hard working staff which operate them.
If so, that would be a shame.
Now you have read this article you will not be one of those ignorant of the important role of the MRF in your district.
In fact waste management is far from a boring subject, and there are rapid developments in the technology and large expansion plans taking place right now.

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