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MRF Material Flow Study


Five national trade associations, including the American Chemistry Council (ACC), Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR), Carton Council of North America (CCNA), Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI) and the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), joined together to commission a study to find ways to optimize the recycling of their packaging after it goes into the bin or cart.

“The MRF Material Flow Study” evaluates where packages end up in a sorting facility, how packages flow in a variety of materials recovery facilities (MRFs) and what potential changes to the sorting processes could improve recovery. Key findings from the study include:

  • Size and shape make a diff­erence – Items tend to flow with similarly sized and shaped materials, so, containers shouldn’t be completely flattened or crushed by residents before being placed in their recycling bin or cart. Additionally, package form and stiffness influences flow. Materials that hold their shape have a higher likelihood of making it to the right bale.
  • Good separation is important – Maintaining equipment to ensure efficient sorting is critical.
  • Optical sorters can help identify material types – As the recycling stream evolves into being more diverse and lightweight, optical sorters play an increasingly important role.

The following resources are available for further information:

MRF Material Flow Study

Press Release


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