What are Material Recovery Facilities?

What are Material Recovery Facilities?
| 3 Min read

Material recovery facilities are also known as Material Reclamation Facilities or Material Recycling Facilities. Material recovery facilities are designed to produce clean and pure recyclable materials to guarantee that the commodities produced are marketable and fetch the highest price.

The waste is collected from the doorstep in segregated form, which is then sorted into different categories and made into small fractions (paper, plastic, packaging paper, bottles, etc.) and sold to mediators who sell bulk materials to recyclers.

Because waste generation varies by location, MRFs must be established to meet that community’s immediate and long-term waste management goals.

To do this, MRFs should have medium to large storage areas to store sorted and fractionated recyclables until they can be sold in bulk to recyclers to get the highest resale value. 

In the few MRFs that are automated, the process of separating and sorting happens with sophisticated systems and equipment that can separate materials into different components.

Main Function Of MRFs

Here, the primary function of MRFs is to maximise the number of recyclable materials from the waste generated in the municipality. Segregating and sorting this recyclable waste material and sending it for recycling generates the highest possible revenues from the recycling market.

Organic waste cannot be disposed of in landfills, according to SWM 2016 rules; the only exception is inert waste from processing facilities; inert street sweepings can be disposed of in landfills. So, it is critical to establish MRFs in ULBs to limit the quantity of waste disposed in landfills and maximise resource recovery and efficiency.

Additionally, material recovery facility act as an intermediary processing step between the collection of recyclables and their sale to the recycling market.

Benefits Of Material recovery facilities

  • MRFs prevent municipal, institutional, and bulk garbage from dumping in landfills.
  • It assists us in protecting precious resources, reducing environmental effects, and demonstrating that waste management is no longer a burden on public authorities.
  • Recycling can create revenue if adequate market mechanisms exist, contributing to cost recovery in municipal solid waste services, that’s where MRFs benefit the most.
  • It benefits ULB by reducing waste volume and resulting in cost savings in the collection, transportation, and disposal infrastructure.
  • It also extends the life of landfills, reduces environmental management efforts, and creates employment in the recycling business for the informal sector and local recyclers.

Also read, What equipment’s do MRFs use?

Types Of Material recovery facilities

Material recovery facilities are classified according to the operations they perform.

Mixed MRF

Materials that are not separated into biodegradable and non-biodegradable components are sent to the processing facility. The combined waste is manually or mechanically separated to separate recyclables from compostable and inert wastes. The recyclable and compostable materials are processed separately, while the inert waste is disposed of in landfills. In this MRF, sorting recyclable materials from mixed waste requires intensive labor and manual, hybrid, and mechanical methods.


Here, waste is either segregated or there in combined form. It consists of paper, cardboard, magazines, plastics, etc. This facility will use manual labor or machinery to separate materials into several categories. When there is a large amount of recyclable material, automatic sorting machines are used.

Manual MRF

Manual MRFs are also called Solid Liquid Resource Management Facilities as they accept dry and wet waste. The process is carried out manually and only deals with tiny volumes of MSW, like 5-10 TPD.

Semi-Automated MRF

This type of Material Recovery Facility employs both manual and mechanised operations. Semi-automated MRFs can handle 10-100/200+ TPD of separated waste.

Semi-automated MRFs also serve as secondary collection points, where MSW is transported compactly following the segregation of wet and dry streams to save on transportation costs.

Automated MRF

Mechanised material recovery facilities are completely mechanized/automated for large-scale material recovery (>100 TPD) with little human intervention. When only source-separated dry waste is brought to the facility, these facilities are ideally suited for segregating recyclables/non-rtecyclables/RDF/inert.

Visit our website to learn more about how Recykal can assist with digitising MRFs.

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