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Recycling Indus try Yearbook

Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc.


How is Scrap Processed?

Recyclable materials need to be separated from waste materials

and sorted by their base materials. Scrap facilities and Material

Recovery Facilities/ Municipal Recovery Facilities (MRFs) are

two large examples of

where recyclables are first

processed. Scrap facilities

process scrap using a range

of capital equipment.

Typically, deliveries at

a scrap facility will be

weighed on a scale upon arrival and then be moved and

organized using equipment such as forklifts, trucks, and

material handlers. Then shredders, shears, wire choppers,

magnets, balers, and other tools will be used to break

them down into pieces and sorted by material type that are

suitable for further processing or sent to mills and factories

to manufacture consumer products. While scrap facilities vary

considerably in size and layout, key variables that affect a

plant’s efficiency include maintaining a smooth flow of traffic

and minimizing the number of times that material is handled.

While scrap facilities have often been located near major

manufacturing centers, scrap recycling facilities today are

located all across the United States and throughout the world.

MRFs are also significant contributors to the recycling supply

chain, particularly for residential recycling. These are complex

facilities that utilize a complicated series of conveyors, optical

and infrared scanners, blowers, sink float pools, and hand

sorting lines to separate paper from plastics from glass bottles

from aluminum cans, and so on.

In addition to outdoor recycling plants, an increasing number

of high-tech facilities with advanced sorting systems for

processing plastics,

electronics, recovered

paper, and other

commodities are

located indoors.