What types of commercial recycling programs are there to choose from?
1) Commingled mixed recycling (CLICK here for more details)
Many businesses recycling in Los Angeles have a separate container for mixed recycling. This method that is referred to as commingled or single stream where all paper, cardboard and various containers are mixed together in a collection truck, instead of being sorted by the business into separate commodities.
A commingled system allows customers to put all recyclables into the same cart or bin with no sorting. The sorting is done by the recyclers. Depending on the recycling program, commingled recycling systems may include just a few recycled materials or a wide range. Materials accepted by each recycling company may vary. Rates also vary from one company to another, but the cost of recycling is lower than that of disposal, so the more you recycle, the more you can potentially save on waste disposal costs.
2) Pre-sorted single materials (CLICK here for more details)
Recyclable materials can also be pre-sorted by the business. If the volume is very large, it may be more cost effective to handle a single material separately throughout the collection process. A good example is cardboard (baled or even flattened in a bin) because it has value as a commodity, is easy to separate at the source and the rest of the recyclables can be placed in a single bin for collection.
3) Dirty MRF full sort of entire waste stream (CLICK here for more details)
Dirty MRFs are another option for commercial recycling (as well as residential curbside recycling in some areas), particularly where space is very limited or there it is not otherwise practical to have employees and custodial staff use separate bins for recycling. Waste haulers that offer Dirty MRFing perform a full sort of all the materials disposed if this service is included in the disposal contract with the customer. You can find this type of service by searching on the Web.
In all three types of programs, recyclable materials are taken by the hauler or recycler to a facility called a MRF (pronounced murf) or Materials Recovery Facility (Click on link to open paragraph below) for sorting and processing, and the trash is taken to landfill or other disposal. There are two different kinds of MRFs, Clean MRFs and Dirty MRFs. Clean and Dirty refer to the method of collection. Clean MRFs receive only commingled or pre-sorted recyclables, while Dirty MRFs receive the entire waste stream with trash and recyclables mixed together. Recyclable materials are extracted and made ready for market.
What happens at a MRF? (CLICK here for more details)
Clean MRFs and Dirty MRFs differ in size and processing, but both are facilities at which recyclables are extracted and sorted by the use of a series of mechanical and manual separation techniques. Conveyors carry the recyclables over screens or other sorting mechanisms (e.g. inclined tables, air classifiers, magnets, etc.). There is also a significant element of hand-sorting of materials.
FERROUS METAL - First, all ferrous metal (iron, metal etc.) is extracted using a large electromagnet and separated to be made into bales.
GLASS - Next, the remaining material continues to move over a vibrating screen where any broken chips can fall through the holes in the screen as it vibrates back and forth. The remainder of the glass continues inside the building and will be crushed, gathered into bins and later loaded onto trucks to go to market.
ALUMINUM & PLASTIC - The aluminum, unbroken glass and plastic items then continue along the conveyor to the air classifier, which is a box that has a hose attachment that blows a strong stream of air to separate the lighter weight plastic and aluminum from the heavier glass. The separated aluminum and plastic go to an area to be sorted by hand and bundled into bales.
Depending on the facility design and market changes, additional materials may be sorted and recycled as well.
If you did not find above the information you need to start a recycling program for your business, or have other recycling-related questions, please call 213-485-2260 for assistance.