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Recology Invests in Waste Diversion and Sustainability with Major Materials Recovery Facility Upgrade

SANTA ROSA, CA, January 25, 2024 – Recology Sonoma Marin today unveiled its new state-of-the-art materials recovery facility (MRF), featuring the latest technology, including seven optional sorters.

The modernized recycling operation, which officially opens on Jan. 29, reflects Recology’s efforts to shift the industry from traditional waste management to resource recovery, in pursuit of a world without waste.

The new MRF (commonly pronounced “merf”), which will process mixed recyclables from 13 communities in Sonoma and Marin counties, boasts an expected recovery rate of 85% for blue bin materials, a significant improvement over the previous facility’s 75%.

“This plant gives customers peace of mind that the recyclables they put in their blue bin will be properly recycled,” said Logan Harvey, Senior General Manager of Recology Sonoma Marin. “Investments like these show that recycling can work, and Recology is here to make sure that it does work.”

Leslie Lukacs, executive director of Zero Waste Sonoma, said, “I’ve worked in the recycling industry for 25 years and have toured many material recovery facilities. Recology’s new state-of-the-art facility is a game-changer in maximizing the diversion of recyclable materials from the landfill and shows their commitment to recovering resources for our community.”

The $35 million plant, which took 10 months to build, measures 85,000 square feet and includes 109 conveyor belts. Their combined length totals 8,376 feet or 1.58 miles.

The new MRF has the projected capacity to process nearly three times the amount of material as the previous facility – 400 tons per day up from 150 tons per day.

Recology engaged recycling equipment manufacturer Machinex to help design, fabricate, and install the cutting-edge system. Machinex CEO Chris Hawn said, “The result of our collaboration is one of the highest capacity recovery systems on the West Coast.”

Inside the revolutionary new facility, recyclables are separated by equipment using advanced technology and hand-sorted by recycling workers. Recology combines these two forces in ways that maximize efficiency.

Seven optical sorters use infrared light and air nozzles to sort materials and remove contaminants. They send clear plastic water bottles one way and colored detergent bottles another. A spinning magnet picks up steel cans and sends them to a conveyor belt leading to a high-density baler. A machine called an eddy-current separator repels aluminum cans in another direction. Recycling workers at the “last chance line” grab plastic bottles that make it past optical sorting machines.

“The system is designed to ensure that the recyclable material we collect has multiple opportunities to get separated and recycled,” Harvey said.

As a leader in resource recovery, Recology continues to invest in robust recycling and composting systems and infrastructure to divert waste from landfills.

Recology CEO Sal Coniglio said, “With these investments, we continue to pursue our vision of a world without waste while advancing the circular economy and supporting our local communities. We aim to be a climate partner to the communities we serve, and this is a significant step towards that.”

A ribbon-cutting celebration to officially launch the new MRF has been held on Jan. 29.

Customers who would like to tour the new recycling facility will be able to register for public tours online at beginning March 2024.


About Recology

Recology is a 100 percent employee-owned integrated resource recovery company providing collection, recycling, curbside composting, and outreach and education to customers throughout California, Oregon, and Washington.

About Machinex

Machinex became the first company in Canada to design machinery for material recycling facilities in the ‘80s. The company immediately established itself as a leader in designing profitable and high-quality recycling sorting systems. Today, with over 50 years of experience, Machinex is a recognized world leader in developing advanced sorting technologies for waste management and recycling. Over the years, their experts have designed and installed several turnkey facilities in partnership with leading MRF operators in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Oceania. For more information, visit the Machinex website at .
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Photo Larry Strong, Courtesy of Recology

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