Rumpke Recycling’s material recovery facility (MRF – pronounced “merf”) in Columbus reopened in August 2011 after undergoing renovations that made it more efficient than ever. The newly-renovated MRF possesses cutting-edge recycling equipment and is among the most technically advanced recycling facilities in the country.
With infrared light technologies and enormous industrial magnets, the MRF looks more like a character from “Transformers” than a recycling facility; but don’t let appearance fool you. These programmable magnets and industrial vacuums are the new face of recycling and have doubled the MRF’s sorting rate to an estimated 60,000 pounds per hour (30 tons per hour).
Pictures and video clips can be viewed on Rumpke’s website and YouTube channel, but the MRF can only be fully appreciated in person. Weekly tours take the public inside the facility to see its vast machinery in action. First-time spectators often marvel as paper rides across enormous metal teeth (called disc screens) while plastic bottles are carried by streams of air in every direction.
How It Works
Since Rumpke collects unsorted recyclables, customers can combine their plastic bottles, papers, glass and other accepted material in a single bin. This makes recycling as easy and convenient as possible for customers, but the recyclables must eventually be sorted by type.
That’s where the MRF comes in. Unsorted material enters the MRF and is separated by type over more than 2,530 feet of conveyor belt using technically-advanced equipment. Sorted material is then compressed into large bales of plastic, paper, aluminum or steel cans that are transported to various locations for reuse. Each bale weighs up to 1,500 pounds.
The Need for the Right Materials (And a Lot of It)
The Columbus MRF is an incredible system that requires a large quantity of recyclables to reach its full potential. Rumpke is transporting material from regions throughout Ohio to this regional facility. The MRF primarily processes material from Greater Columbus, along with recyclables from third-party collectors and Rumpke locations in Chillicothe, Circleville, Ironton, Mansfield, and Mt. Vernon.
Customers can make the most of the MRF by only recycling acceptable items. Contrary to popular belief, items imprinted with the three chasing arrows symbol are not necessarily acceptable in this system. Consumers should refer to the acceptable items list to determine what items can be recycled in their area.
Getting familiar with the acceptable items list and recycling only those items are the most important things customers can do. Unacceptable materials jam equipment, resulting in expensive damages that can shut down the facility.
With the Columbus MRF, Ohio can become a national leader in recycling. Rumpke is handing this opportunity to residents and businesses state-wide and asking them to rise to the challenge.
About the author: Taylor Greely is a sales & marketing intern at Rumpke.