Canadian Packaging

New report evaluates modern technologies for mixed waste processing

By Canadian Packaging staff   

Sustainability ACC American Chemistry Council materials recovery facilities mixed waste processing facilities MRF MWPF Supplemental Report: The Evolution of Mixed Waste Processing Facilities—Technology and Equipment Guide

American Chemical Company’s Plastic Division notes that MRFs are successfully being integrated into MWPFs.

WASHINGTON, DC—A report released today by the American Chemistry Council (ACC)’s Plastics Division finds the main technologies used in modern recycling plants, also known as materials recovery facilities (MRFs), are being successfully integrated into mixed waste processing facilities (MWPFs).

Both types of facilities aim to divert post-use materials from landfills by maximizing the recovery of marketable commodities. However, MRFs and MWPFs differ in that the former require recyclable materials to be removed from the waste stream in order to be processed, usually through residential collection programs, while MWPFs extract recyclables directly from municipal solid waste.

“Recycling is a critical part of how we make the most of the earth’s limited resources,” says ACC senior director of recycling and energy recovery Craig Cookson. “But when it comes to meeting the diverse needs of our communities, there’s no one size fits all. Mixed waste processing can offer a unique set of solutions for areas with a high percentage of multifamily homes or that lack funding to operate separate collection programs for recycling.”

Authored by Gershman, Brickner & Bratton, Inc., Supplemental Report: The Evolution of Mixed Waste Processing Facilities—Technology and Equipment Guide examines 10 types of equipment, such as optical sorting systems; bag openers, which liberate materials from closed plastic trash bags; air separation systems and densifiers, for example. The evaluations typically include the quality of the finished product, the volumes that are captured versus lost, and the speed at which the processing equipment works.


This Technology and Equipment Guide builds on a prior report, The Evolution of Mixed Waste Processing Facilities, 1970-Today,” released in June 2015.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people’s lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care®, common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues, and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is an $801 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation’s economy. It is the nation’s largest exporter, accounting for fourteen percent of all U.S. exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation’s critical infrastructure. More information available at


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