Materials Recovery Facility (MRF)
Products that are received in the kerbside recycling collection (domestic or commercial) are transported to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). This is where the mixed recyclables are sorted into material types and baled ready for transport and sale.
In Logan, 20-30 domestic recycling trucks visit the Gibson Island VISY MRF every day. Each truck has the capacity to hold between 500 – 550 (240L) domestic recycling bins. That means there is an average of 13,125 Logan household recycling bins being emptied and sorted at the MRF on any given day. There are also Commercial and Industrial (C&I) services in addition to this.
What is accepted at the MRF?
The following lists the five main material categories that can be sorted for recycling at the MRF:
A number of mechanical and manual sorting processes are applied to the comingled recyclable materials in order to remove all waste materials and sort all recyclables into their individual material types or categories.
The sorting process, as illustrated below, consists of seven basic steps:
For further description of each step, hover mouse over picture.
- Manual Pre-sort – MRF staff manually remove contamination
- Star Screen Sorting – Fans and a series of shafts fitted with rotating star shaped disks propel paper and cardboard forward, while bottles, cans and containers fall backwards.
- Glass removal – Sent to a beneficiation plant for further sorting by colour.
- Steel magnet – Rotating magnets pick up steel cans and drop them into a separate bunker.
- Eddie current – An electromagnetic field repels aluminium cans off the conveyor belt.
- Optical Sorting – Infrared sensors and air jets sort plastic types 1 and 2 (PET and HDPE respectively).
- Manual Sorting – MRF staff manually sort the other plastic types (3-7).
It is very important that only the correct items are sent to the MRF. If a load is too heavily contaminated, the whole load cannot be recycled and will be sent to landfill. For example; as little as 25 grams of contamination (about the size of the handle on a tea cup) per tonne of glass could compromise the quality and potential safety of the final product. This would result in the whole load being wasted.
Some contaminants are frequently placed in the recycling bin and make their way to the MRF; these contaminants reduce the effectiveness of MRF processes, mix with recyclables (compromising their value) and end up being sent to landfill anyway.
Some common contaminants include:
It is essential that recyclable materials are placed loose in the yellow lidded recycling bins. Please do not bag your recyclables and do not line your recycling bin with a plastic liner. The MRF cannot process bagged recycling; therefore, this material will be classed as contamination and disposed at landfill.