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Material Recovery

Facility (MRF)

Single Stream

A material recovery facility is a facility that receives your locally collected recycling. The facilities are responsible for receiving, separating and bundling the material for the next step on the recycling journey. There are two types of MRFs (pronounced murphs): Clean MRFs and Dirty MRFs. 

Clean MRF: Accepts commingled materials already separated from garbage. Clean MRFs use two type of operating systems; Single Stream and Dual Stream. 


Dirty MRF: A mixed-waste system in which designated recyclable material is sorted from garbage through both mechanical and manual sorting. These materials are established by set end-markets. 

Single Stream recycling is a specific process of separating materials. All materials including paper, plastics, and metals are collected together in a truck to be then taken to the sorting facility. Single Stream recycling has been now implemented as the most common process with more than 60% of MRFs in the USA operating under this strategy. 


This increases the chance that residence will place more items in their curbside recycling due to little effort and time spent taking out their waste.

Collection costs are optimized this way. It only takes one truck to complete the job with an eye on total automation. This will create less time spent on the road and easier delivery once materials are collected.

More than anything, this process allows more materials to be added easily as product innovation continues across the globe. With this, logistics and risk should decrease drastically. With process innovation, we should be able to recycle more content and material increasing the overall recycling rate. 

The need to begin in-state or closed loop programs within the USA is crucial so decisions made by China (the largest buyer or recycled plastics) will not damage the market and slow recycling progress.

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