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Our hope is, by making it easier and more efficient, more residents of Athens and Hocking Counties will recycle, which will generate more material to be recycled, diverting it from the landfill. This single-stream system will not only be for rural areas, but for all residents of both counties. Other local haulers can utilize this new MRF (some are already doing so) for recycling they pickup. In addition, this MRF will create opportunity for other smaller scale recycling programs in neighboring counties to collect more types of materials and send to AHRC for processing.
Ok. MRF you say. What does that look like and how does it work? There are many videos on the internet if you would like to search, but below is one that captures the basics of how it works, although our MRF will not sort plastics. The plastics will be collected together and compacted into large bails.
As you may already know, AHRC started accepting more types of plastic, yard waste, e-waste, scrap metal, food waste, and several other types of materials. We did not stop there. AHRC has expanded our curbside recycling and refuse service into rural areas of Athens and Hocking Counties. Bring recycling to the people! We started this pilot program in certain areas utilizing a split-body compactor truck. This particular type of compactor truck which has two separate compartments (to keep refuse and recyclables seperate enables AHRC to be much more efficient. Twice as much, you could say! This setup saves fuel (reducing our carbon footprint) and time when collecting materials in rural areas. These new routes with the split-body truck collect recycling as a single-stream. All of the recyclable materials can be mixed together by the customer and is later sorted at our facility. Currently we have a certain capacity to sort this material because it is mostly sorted by people. The recycling industry has or is moving towards this type of collection and is present in many areas across Ohio and the nation. Our customers want this too, and have told us so.
How do we expand? By building a larger, more sophisticated materials recovery facility (MRF). The Ohio Environmental Protection agency is urging all Solid Waste Districts across Ohio to increase recycling to divert 25% of municipal solid waste from landfills. How do we do this? That's where the MRF comes in. The traditional method of collecting materials that are already sorted by the customer. By moving to a single-stream system cuts sorting by customer out of the mix, saving them time and headache. Some people do mind sorting, if you make things easier, more people are likely to recycle and recycle more materials.