The city of Houston has applied for a grant to help it develop a “dirty MRF” (rhymes with “smurf”) — a recycling center that would sort and mine garbage, using an assortment of machines, scanners, and density separators to separate recyclables, electrical items, compost, and dry materials that could be resold. A materials recovery facility envisioned by sustainability director Laura Spanjian and chief development officer Andy Icken would be similar to one in Roseville, California, that opened in 2007 and “harvests” almost half the waste sent to it. You can follow along a kiddie-led tour of that MRF in this video:
With its own dirty MRF, Houston residents wouldn’t need to sort their recycling or even separate it from the rest of the trash. City or private trucks would save a separate weekly pickup from residences, since all waste would go into a single bin. The city hasn’t chosen a private partner for its effort yet; building and putting in place such a facility would take 2 to 3 years and cost an estimated $100 million.
- City sees way for homes to recycle more by sorting less [Houston Chronicle]
- Innovative Dirty MRF, Roseville, California, USA [Machinex]