Wednesday, February 08, 2012
One of the questions I am most often asked is "Why must I separate my recyclables for collection?" The answer has to do with the way our Recycling Center, or Materials Recycling Facility (MRF), is designed. The MRF is where all the recyclables are sorted by material type and processed for market.
Our customers are asked to separate materials into two containers, and our collection trucks are separated into two compartments because the MRF is divided into two sections.
The Montgomery County MRF has two separate sorting lines: one for paper products (including cardboard), and the other for commingled items (bottles, cans, jars, and containers). When the recycling collection truck enters the MRF, the paper side of the truck is emptied in one area, and the commingled in another.
The two "streams" of material are processed separately. When the commingled materials travel through the series of conveyors in the MRF, the glass, plastic, aluminum and steel items are further separated from each other. After this final separation, each material is prepared separately (most are baled) and shipped to market.
This dual stream system results in cleaner bales of material, which are easier to market. These bales bring in a higher value, enabling the MRF to cover its operating costs.
View our online MRF tour to learn more about how this facility works. We welcome your visits in person, too!
Robin D. Ennis
Chief, Collections Section
Division of Solid Waste Services