Posted on April 25, 2022


As seen in Recycling Product News

As a landfill owner and operator in Iowa, Metro Waste Authority was challenged by an uncertain future for recycling. The agency chose to develop a new material recovery facility (MRF) to provide a sustainable solution for the Des Moines metro area. 

The agency, which offers solid waste services for more than 30 communities and two counties in the metro, began discussions with its Board of Directors about a new, agency-owned recycling facility in 2018 after the National Sword policy disrupted the recycling world.  

After a feasibility study supported a new facility for the region, Metro Waste Authority's Board of Directors decided to move forward with building an MRF owned and operated by the agency. 

To create a successful program, Metro Waste Authority emphasized technology, partnerships, and education as they developed the new facility.

The agency sought a partner to engineer, manufacture, and install processing equipment in the new facility. After requesting proposed solutions, Metro Waste Authority's Board of Directors chose CP Group of San Diego, California.

"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," said Michael McCoy, executive director at Metro Waste Authority.

To meet the needs of Metro Waste Authority, CP Group developed a system that would improve purity on recovered commodities, be low maintenance, and protect workers. 

At the front end of the system, the primary auger screen and OCC auger screen work together after the infeed conveyor to fractionate material prior to any people, eliminating the presort and creating a safer environment.

The primary auger screen has a 6-inch minus fraction that sends overs to the patented OCC auger screen and unders to the CP glass breaker (that removes glass and fines) and then to the CPScreen that has new anti-wrapping discs to separate 2D from 3D material.

The 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. The 8-inch cut sends unders to an MSS Fibermax optical sorter (instead of a traditional paper screen) that sorts out contaminants, and overs go to the OCC QC, where large rigids, metals, and residue are pulled out.

Additionally, there is a CP LightsOut air drum separator to clean the glass and two MSS Plasticmax units to sort containers.

Another feature is the installation of CP's new auger silos that maximizes silo storage volume. The augers act as a material metering system that eliminates half and quarter 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," said McCoy. 

In addition to establishing a recycling operation, the new recycling facility also builds upon Metro Waste Authority's commitment to education with a 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 centre also boasts an observation deck above the sorting floor, a vibrant mural designed by a local artist and a 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," said 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."

Metro Waste Authority 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.