Materials Recycling Facility (MRF)

A Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) is a specialised plant that receives and prepares recyclable materials from both business and residential waste.

Typically consisting of two types of plant: clean and dirty, MRF is a key component of the residential and commercial single-stream recycling process. Their objective is simply to sort materials for recycling as quickly and effectively as possible.

How does an MRF work?

Materials Recycling Facilities all work in the same way on a broad level: waste materials make their way through the facility being sorted and prepared for shipment or re-use. However, methods involved do differ depending on whether the MRF is clean or dirty.

What is a clean MRF?

A clean MRF only accepts materials which have been separated at the source from municipal solid waste. This requires much less labour, making clean facilities more cost-effective from this perspective, but does lead to them often having lower recovery rates than dirty facilities.

Upon delivery of the separated materials, a clean MRF will then sort them to required specifications and prepared for shipment to market as required.

What is a dirty MRF?

Dirty Materials Recycling Facilities, also known as Mixed-Waste Processing Systems (MWPF), accept mixed streams of waste directly from residential and commercial waste streams.

Upon arriving at the facility, these streams are then separated by a combination of machines and hand before being shipped.

MWPFs can be capable of much higher recovery rates than a clean MRF as they ensure 100% of a waste stream is subject to the sorting process. It can, however, result in greater contamination of recyclables and typically costs more to operate than a clean facility.

The MRF process

Materials Recycling Facilities will process typically process waste via the following process:

  • Collection: waste materials collected from businesses are transported to a Materials Recycling Facility
  • Separated: the majority of the waste is then passed through machinery which separates the different recyclables, before it is subject to a final screening by hand to ensure accuracy is as high as possible
  • Glass cleaning: all glass is then passed under a magnet to remove any ferrous metals before being sent through an air classifier to remove any light paper
  • Metal cleaning: all metals are removed using either a magnet or eddy current separator
  • Plastics: finally, any remaining plastic containers are separated, either by workers or optical sorting machines
  • Baling: sorted materials, apart from glass, are then typically baled before being distributed as required.

Our facilities

Gaskells’ Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) is a state of the art, fully automated waste processing and recovery plant.

Developed at an initial cost of £3 million, we continue to invest in the latest technologies to recover and reuse as many recyclates and recoverable material as possible.

As you would expect of a professional recycling service, we provide excellent traceability, offering your business recycling performance reports that can form part of your company’s records and environmental profile.

Our recycling waste collections service is able to deal with segregated cardboard and paperscrap metal, wood and glass, as well as food waste for anaerobic digestion (AD) processing, and sensitive materials such as asbestos and electrical waste (WEEE Waste).

And if you are uncertain of whether you generate the kind of waste materials suitable for recycling, we offer a free waste audit to maximise reduction, recycling and reuse of your waste.

This also helps you to understand the specific types and sizes of waste container you will need to keep different recyclable materials separated before collection or to compact scrap metal down for safer and easier handling.

Gaskells’ Materials Recycling Facility processes over 70,000 tonnes of waste per year, making it the largest commercial recycling facility in Liverpool.

We also work with other waste collection companies to process recyclable materials from their customers – ensuring that the local industry as a whole works together for the best possible impact on the environment and in reducing the region’s reliance on landfill sites.

For more information on this or any of our other commercial recycling collection services or general commercial waste collection services please do not hesitate to get in contact.

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