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Bright future: the 20 largest MRFs in the U.S. set a recycling industry standard.

A decade ago, a visitor to a material recovery facility (MRF) would probably see two modest-sized sorting lines, a medium-capacity baler or two and several bunkers to store material.

That configuration can still be found in North America, but a drive to centralize the processing of municipal recyclables has also created a species of super MRF. These plants feature larger conveyors, large automated sorting screens, high-capacity balers and multi-bay shipping docks for outbound industrial feedstock harvested from curbside bins.

In the U.S., solid waste and recycling companies that pick up municipal recyclables are also doing much of the processing. Their desire to perform both tasks efficiently has driven a trend toward large, centralized processing plants to serve entire regions.

In a presentation at the 2004 Paper Recycling Conference (see "Making Demands," p. 76 in this issue), Pieter Eenkema van Dijk, president of recycling equipment supplier Van Dyk Baler Corp., Stamford, Conn., predicted the trend toward fewer but larger recycling plants would continue in coordination with industry consolidation. He offered as proof: "We sell more and more large balers and fewer and fewer small balers."

This is the second edition of Recycling Today's compilation of the 20 largest MRFs in the U.S. As with the first list, presented in the August 2002 issue, the numbers make clear that some significant MRFs are in operation, producing impressive amounts of secondary fiber, aluminum used beverage containers (UBCs), bales of steel food cans and plastic bottles and glass bottles and jars.

MRF ELIGIBILITY. For our list, Recycling Today chose to include only facilities that process 50 percent or more residentially generated material. Facilities with a higher mix of commercially generated material may also take in bottles, cans and other commodities, but these facilities are instead considered when our "20 Largest Paperstock Dealers" list is published in odd numbered years.

We have chosen the amount of scrap paper shipped as the yardstick for ranking order on our list of the 20 largest MRFs. Although containers make up an important portion of the volume at most MRFs, this volume is greatly reduced in states with deposit-and-return bottle bills. Thus, MRFs in bottle bill states would be at an immediate disadvantage if total recyclables were used to rank facilities.

Unfortunately, designating a facility as either a MRF or a paperstock plant is somewhat arbitrary. Many facilities with a commercial to residential split ranging from 51/49 to 70/30 may look and sound like a MRF, but because a line had to be drawn, they will be considered as paperstock plants for purposes of creating our lists. The line is blurry, however, and we are open to suggestions for other definitions or criteria for designating a plant as one or the other. Please feel free to contact the editors with your thoughts.

Following is a chart and brief description of 20 facilities that met the designation of a MRF by our definition. Recycling Today wishes to thank Eileen Berenyi and Governmental Advisory Associates Inc., Westport, Conn., publishers of Materials Recycling and Processing in the United States. This directory has been a helpful resource for much of the information presented in the chart and in the article that follows.

Those interested in purchasing this comprehensive directory of recycling facilities can do so through the Online Bookstore found at www.RecyclingToday.com.

FCR OF BOSTON

This recycling facility is owned by Casella Waste Systems Inc., Rutland, Vt., operating under the FCR Recycling division name. The plant processes material collected by Casella and other haulers throughout the Boston metropolitan area. The FCR of Boston plant, which is located in the Boston area, processes more than 180,000 of the 1 million tons of recyclables that FCR handles each year.

NORCAL-RECYCLE CENTRAL

San Francisco-based hauler Norcal Waste Systems Inc. opened this $38 million facility in 2003. Norcal, which has the San Francisco residential recycling contract, sends the material it collects here to be sorted by a combination of disk screens, hand sorting, magnets and vacuums. ONP, office paper, mixed paper, OCC and containers are all accepted by the San Francisco program and arrive at the facility.

RABANCO RECYCLING (DIV. OF ALLIED WASTE)

This massive Seattle MRF processes material collected by the Rabanco division of Allied Waste Inc., Scottsdale, Ariz. The 80,000-square-foot MRF is located in an old steel mill that was retrofitted by Rabanco in the late 1980s. In addition to curbside commodities, municipal solid waste, yard trimmings, electronic scrap and C&D debris are handled at the site.

DEFFENBAUGH INDUSTRIES

Deffenbaugh Industries is a regional company that has retained a solid market position in the Kansas City area. Operating in both Kansas and Missouri, the company's municipal collection efforts have grown in importance since its first contract in Lenexa, Kan., in 1989. According to its Web site, the company is phasing out glass collection in its municipal programs.

RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

This Chicago-area plant processes considerable fiber as well as containers. The 150,000-square-foot plant receives materials from a variety of curbside programs in Illinois and bordering states. It handles a large volume and variety of incoming materials, but also produces clean outbound shipments, evident from its past recognition by Alcoa Corp. as a winner of the company's UBC Quality Award.

METROPOLITAN PAPER

Municipal paper grades collected in New York City are brought to this Brooklyn plant. The company and its CEO Gregory Bianco held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the secondary fiber plant in late 2003. The plant, featuring an automated sorting system and high-volume baler, "represents an investment in the newest, stare-of-the-art processing technology," Bianco said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for his new Brooklyn, N.Y., plant this winter.

RAA LAKE COUNTY (ILL.) MRF

The Recycle America Alliance (RAA) division of Waste Management Inc., headquartered in Houston, operates this Chicago-area plant. The facility takes in recyclables from more than 35 municipalities throughout Illinois. The sorting and baling facility handles a variety of recycling grades, including both paper and containers.

RAA-MINNEAPOLIS

As it has in many of its markets, RAA and Waste Management Inc. consolidated several Twin Cities operations into one large MRF. This Minneapolis facility takes in both residential and commercial material, with the residential segment supplying the greater balance.

GROOT INDUSTRIES/ CROWN DISPOSAL

A nearly even split of residential and commercial materials feeds these two divisions of the same company. (Groot serves northern and western suburban and outlying areas of Chicago, while Crown concentrates on most of the city itself and southern parts of Chicagoland.)

OMNI RECYCLING OF WESTBURY (N.Y.)

This Long Island MRF handles an even split of residential and commercial material, with the ONP and OCC grades among its largest, as well as PET and HDPE plastic bottle bales and bales of tin-plated steel cans. Material comes in from New York City as well as from communities on Long Island.

BFI RECYCLING-MINNEAPOLIS

A multi-county area in and around the Twin Cities is served by this MRF, which handles a sizable number of containers of all types in addition to the considerable fiber tonnage.

DADE COUNTY BFI

This MRF takes in recyclables collected from residents in Miami and in other communities throughout Dade County. The MRF was upgraded in 1998 to handle its growing stream of commingled materials. OCC from cruise ships, processed separately, also makes its way into the plant.

POTENTIAL INDUSTRIES

This Long Beach-area facility takes in residential material collected from haulers throughout southern California. This Potential plant draws material from Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties and handles material from commercial sources as well.

PALM BEACH COUNTY R-MRF

This Florida MRF, managed by the FCR Recycling division of Casella Waste Systems, was built to handle the 90,000 tons of residentially generated material collected from Palm Beach County and adjacent counties. An adjacent commercial MRF processes another 20,000 tons annually.

BFI BUFFALO DISTRICT MRF

Recyclables collected from some 300,000 households in upstate New York head to this Kenmore, N.Y., MRF run by BFI-Allied Waste Inc. About 70 percent of the material processed at the plant comes from residential programs in several counties. ONP, OCC and mixed paper are all baled at the plant, as are bottles and cans.

CR&R INC.

A portion of the residential recycling stream from the city of Los Angeles comes to this facility, as do materials collected from other parts of Los Angeles County and parts of Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. ONP, mixed paper, glass, OCC, steel cans and HDPE milk jugs make up the majority of material processed at the plant. CR&R and its parent company Solag Disposal also operate a MRF in San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

BFI RECYCLERY--NEWBY ISLAND

A steady stream of residentially and commercially generated material (roughly a 50/50 split) comes into this central California facility. Waste and recyclables haulers bring in material from San Jose, Santa Clara and other parts of Silicon Valley, as well as from Alameda County.

PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY MRF

Automated sorting helps create the shippable stream of ONP, plastic containers, UBCs, steel cans and glass bottles heading out of this 65,000-square-foot MRF. BFI-Allied Waste Inc. is the current operator of this MRF, which has two processing lines and was formerly operated by CRInc.

RAA--EMPIRE MRF

This Santa Rosa, Calif., Facility, operated by Waste Management, traces its MRF origins all the way back to 1978 and some of the earliest curbside collection programs in the United States. It has been upgraded periodically and now features an automated sorting system. Residential recydables are collected from Sonoma and Mendocino Counties.

METALIFE RESOURCES

Residential recyclables from the Pittsburgh area and other parts of western Pennsylvania are processed at this MRF, formerly operated by Weyerhaeuser Recycling. For more than 10 years, recyclable paper grades and containers have been hauled to the MRF by residential collection contractors.
20 LARGEST MRFs IN THE U.S.

 2003 Materials Recovered
 and Shipped

MRF Address Fiber Plastic UBCs
and Affiliation (Gross Tons) (Tons) (Tons)

FCR of Boston
3 Brick Kiln Rd.,
N Billerica MA 01862 147,502 7,921 388

Norcal--Recycle Central (1)
Pier 96 Foot of Cargo and
Jennings, San Fran., CA 94124 130,000 i.n.a. i.n.a.

Rabanco Recycling
(Div. of Allied Waste) (1)
2733 3rd Ave. S,
Seattle, WA 98134 128,000 1,300 1,400

Deffenbaugh Industries
8905 Kaw Dr.,
Kansas City, KS 66111 124,765 1,535 1,100

Metropolitan Paper Recycling
847 Shepherd Ave.,
Brooklyn, NY 11208 124,000 n/a n/a

Resource Management (1)
1011 Andersen Ave.,
Chicago, IL 60415 120,000 24,000 i.n.a.

RAA Lake County (Ill.) MRF
30869 Route 83,
Grayslake, IL 60030 111,785 28,200 1,400

RAA--Minneapolis (1)
1800 Broadway St. NE,
Minneapolis, MN 55413 96,500 i.n.a. i.n.a.

Groot Industries/Crown
Disposal (1)
8475 W 53,
La Grange, IL 60525 96,000 i.n.a. i.n.a.

Omni Recycling (1)
635 Dickens St.,
Westbury, NY 11590 92,000 2,600 65

BFI Recycling--Minneapolis (1)
725 44th Ave. N,
Minneapolis, MN 55412 80,000 4,600 1,800

Dade County BFI (1)
3840 NW 37 Ct.,
Miami, FL 33142 76,000 4,200 470

Potential Industries (1)
922 East E St.,
Wilmington, CA 90744 72,000 i.n.a. i.n.a.

Palm Beach County R-MRF
7501 North Jog Rd.,
West Palm Beach, FL 33412 70,112 3,728 876

BFI Buffalo District MRF
2299 Kenmore,
Kenmore, NY 14207-1311 55,528 2,634 80

CR&R Inc. (1)
11292 Western Ave.,
Stanton, CA 90680 55,000 3,100 390

BFI Recyclery--Newby Island (1)
1601 Dixon Landing Rd.,
Milpitas, CA 95035 54,000 i.n.a. i.n.a.

BFI Prince George's County MRF
300 Ritchie Rd.,
Capitol Heights, MD 20743 46,635 5,650 946

RAA--Empire MRF (1)
3400 Standish Ave.,
Santa Rosa, CA 95407 44,000 i.n.a. i.n.a.

Metalife Resources (1)
16 S Washington St.,
Donora, PA 15033 43,000 i.n.a. i.n.a.

 2003 Materials
 Recovered and
 Shipped

MRF Address Steel Cans Glass
and Affiliation (Tons) (Tons)

FCR of Boston
3 Brick Kiln Rd.,
N Billerica MA 01862 4,674 21,659

Norcal--Recycle Central (1)
Pier 96 Foot of Cargo and
Jennings, San Fran., CA 94124 i.n.a. i.n.a.

Rabanco Recycling
(Div. of Allied Waste) (1)
2733 3rd Ave. S,
Seattle, WA 98134 2,400 22,000

Deffenbaugh Industries
8905 Kaw Dr.,
Kansas City, KS 66111 1,000 3,600

Metropolitan Paper Recycling
847 Shepherd Ave.,
Brooklyn, NY 11208 n/a n/a

Resource Management (1)
1011 Andersen Ave.,
Chicago, IL 60415 i.n.a. 60,000

RAA Lake County (Ill.) MRF
30869 Route 83,
Grayslake, IL 60030 2,000 19,600

RAA--Minneapolis (1)
1800 Broadway St. NE,
Minneapolis, MN 55413 i.n.a. i.n.a.

Groot Industries/Crown
Disposal (1)
8475 W 53,
La Grange, IL 60525 i.n.a. i.n.a.

Omni Recycling (1)
635 Dickens St.,
Westbury, NY 11590 2,800 1,700

BFI Recycling--Minneapolis (1)
725 44th Ave. N,
Minneapolis, MN 55412 3,800 8,500

Dade County BFI (1)
3840 NW 37 Ct.,
Miami, FL 33142 2,100 13,900

Potential Industries (1)
922 East E St.,
Wilmington, CA 90744 i.n.a. i.n.a.

Palm Beach County R-MRF
7501 North Jog Rd.,
West Palm Beach, FL 33412 877 14,233

BFI Buffalo District MRF
2299 Kenmore,
Kenmore, NY 14207-1311 2,600 4,500

CR&R Inc. (1)
11292 Western Ave.,
Stanton, CA 90680 1,900 10,000

BFI Recyclery--Newby Island (1)
1601 Dixon Landing Rd.,
Milpitas, CA 95035 i.n.a. i.n.a.

BFI Prince George's County MRF
300 Ritchie Rd.,
Capitol Heights, MD 20743 2,672 18,556

RAA--Empire MRF (1)
3400 Standish Ave.,
Santa Rosa, CA 95407 i.n.a. i.n.a.

Metalife Resources (1)
16 S Washington St.,
Donora, PA 15033 i.n.a. i.n.a.


WERE YOU LEFT OUT?

Finding out which MRFs met the 50 percent residential material requirement and how much material they process and ship is a daunting task--and we can use your help. If you know of a MRF that should have been in our Top 20 list or is growing and may well qualify the next time we publish this list, please let us know. Contact editor Brian Taylor at btaylor@gie.net.
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Title Annotation:material recovery facility
Author:Taylor, Brian
Publication:Recycling Today
Article Type:Cover Story
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2004
Words:2391
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