MRF Material Flow Study, July 2015

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The famous Greek philosopher Heraclitus captured the essence of the recycling industry over 2,500 years ago when he penned the phrase, “Nothing endures but change.” The march of packaging innovation and technology, and the persistently changing habits of consumers continue to dictate the changing mix of materials that enters a material recovery facility (MRF). Over the past decade, there has been a continual decline in the once dominant materials including newspaper, glass and metal cans. At the same time, a host of other packaging types have emerged, presenting new recovery opportunities. Recycling programs throughout the country have responded by expanding the list of materials accepted for recycling, notably including a wide range of plastics and cartons. For the MRFs that receive the material, it is not always easy to keep sorting technologies and techniques on pace with this expanding mix.

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