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Posted on April 26, 2022


As seen in Recycling Today and Waste Today, by Brian Taylor

San Diego-based CP Group has helped equip a new material recovery facility (MRF) commissioned by the Des Moines, Iowa-based Metro Waste Authority (MWA).

The California-based equipment and technology provider says MWA was challenged by an uncertain future after the People’s Republic of China adopted its National Sword policy banning the import of some scrap materials. The agency chose to develop a new MRF “to provide a sustainable solution” for the Des Moines metro area in response to the challenge.

MWA, which was established in 1969, offers solid waste and recycling services to more than 30 communities and two counties in the Des Moines region consisting of nearly 100,000 households. Its staff began discussions with its board of directors about a new, agency-owned recycling facility in 2018, as the disruptive aspects of National Sword were becoming clear.

“Metro Waste Authority has a strong history of solving industry problems with innovative solutions and, when it became difficult for our third-party processor to recycle the materials our Curb It! recycling program brought in, we dug deeper to create market partnerships and find a way to keep those materials out of the landfill,” says Michael McCoy, MWA executive director. “We knew that if we wanted to provide a sustainable future for recycling in the metro going forward, it would require a change in course for the processing and sale of material.”

After a feasibility study supported a new, technologically updated facility for the region, MWA’s board of directors decided to move forward with building a MRF owned and operated by the agency.

To create a successful program, MWA strived to emphasize advanced technology, strong partnerships and outstanding education as it developed the new facility.

The agency sought a partner to engineer, manufacture and install processing equipment in the new facility. After requesting proposed solutions from sorting system technology firms, MWA’s board selected CP Group. “CP Group understood our vision for an enhanced sorting system—one that would capture more material, reduce contamination and provide safe, pleasant working conditions for staff,” says McCoy. 

CP Group developed a system designed to improve purity on recovered commodities, be low maintenance and protect workers.

At the front end of the system, a Primary Auger Screen and OCC Auger Screen work together after the infeed conveyor to fractionate material prior to being handled by manual sorters, “eliminating the presort and creating a safer environment,” CP Group says.

The Primary Auger Screen creates a 6-inch-minus fraction that sends overs to the patented OCC Auger Screen and unders to the CP Glass Breaker (which removes glass and fines) and then to the CPScreen that has new anti-wrapping discs to separate two-dimensional from three-dimensional material. MWA is the first in the world to incorporate the OCC Auger Screen into a single-stream sorting application, according to CP Group.

The patented OCC Auger Screen has steel cantilevered augers generating high agitation to create an OCC-rich stream while fractionating out smaller materials. “This machine does not wrap or jam and requires very little maintenance,” CP Group says.

The 8-inch cut sends unders, instead of going to instead of a traditional paper screen, to a Fibermax optical sorter made by CP subsidiary company MSS. The MSS Fibermax sorts out contaminants, while overs go to the OCC quality control area, where large rigids, metals and residue are pulled out.

Additionally, a CP LightsOut Air Drum Separator cleans the glass, and two MSS Plasticmax units sort containers.

Also installed in Des Moines are CP’s new auger silos, designed to maximize silo storage volumes. The augers act as a material metering system that eliminates half- and quarter-sized bales by emptying the correct amount of material to be baled.

“This advanced equipment package from CP Group reduces contamination early in the sorting process, allowing us to produce the best output for material sales and supporting the strong partnerships we’ve cultivated with brokers and end-market users,” McCoy says.

In addition to establishing a state-of-the-art recycling operation, the new recycling facility also builds upon MWA’s commitment to education by including space dedicated to learning. The space features a permanent exhibit that includes educational kiosks, interactive infographics and a hands-on sorting station for visitors of all ages to learn about accepted recyclables and the recycling process. The center also boasts an observation deck above the sorting floor, a mural designed by a local artist and multipurpose space intended for community talks, presentations and other meetings.

“The facility is the result of collaboration and a shared philosophy by the cities and county, and it will improve recycling and benefit communities throughout the state for years to come,” says McCoy. “Just like when our agency was formed to create a regional approach with one landfill, we are excited to have this same opportunity with recycling.”

MWA officially began operations at the MRF in late 2021. The new 101,100-square-foot single-stream facility processes material at 25 tons per hour and has room to grow as the region’s needs for enhanced recycling processing evolve.

“Metro Waste Authority has a MRF to be proud of, and we are happy to be their partner in bringing the latest innovations in recycling technology to the region,” says Terry Schneider, president and CEO of CP Group. “This facility will serve the greater Des Moines metro area with sustainable solutions for many years to come.”

CP Group specializes in MRF design, manufacturing, installation and service. Its portfolio of companies includes CP Manufacturing, Krause Manufacturing, MSS Inc. and Advanced MRF and its services include recycling system design, manufacturing, retrofits, audits, service and consulting. The group, founded in 1977, provides what it calls turnkey solutions for mixed waste, residential recycling, commercial and industrial, construction and demolition, paper, plastic and electronic scrap applications.