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Tip Floor

a. What happens here?

The Tip Floor is where materials are unloaded from various trucks. Materials are picked up by a wheel loader and loaded onto a conveyor that feeds the sorting system.

b. How it works:

Private haulers and municipal trucks enter the facility and weigh on the truck scale. Then, the trucks are unloaded, or tipped, on the Tip Floor. The wheel loader picks up the materials and places them on the feed conveyor.

c. Where are the materials going next?

After leaving the Tip Floor and the in ground feed conveyor, the materials are headed through the Metering Drum to start their sorting journey through the Materials Recovery Facility.

Metering Drum

a. What happens here?

The Metering Drum controls the amount of material that enters the sorting system to ensure the system receives the correct amount of material.

b. How it works:

The Metering Drum can be raised and lowered to change the height of the material traveling up the incline conveyor. The incline conveyor speed can be changed to a slower or faster speed. Together the Metering Drum and Incline conveyor control the amount of material being fed into the sorting system. This ensures the system runs at its peak and sorts the materials correctly.

c. Where are the materials going next?

After traveling through the Metering Drum the materials drop onto the presort conveyor where they are sorted by personnel prior to entering the sorting screens.

Pre-Sort

a. What happens here?

The Pre-sort staff is the Material Recovery Facility’s first line of defense against things that can damage the system or don’t travel through it properly.

b. How it works:

The staff looks for things like plastic bags, wire, large pieces of metal, and electronics that are all prohibited from the system. Things that are accepted for recycling in single stream programs like large plastic buckets and containers do not conform to the size separation in the next part of the system, the OCC Screen. This is why they are pulled out in the Pre-Sort. These items are things like: 5 gallon plastic buckets, large detergent bottles, and large kitty litter containers.

c. Where are the materials going next?

After the Pre-Sort, the materials fall off the belt into the OCC Screen. OCC means Old Corrugated Containers. This is the first automated sorting machine in the Material Recovery Facility.

OCC Screen

a. What happens here?

After material leaves the Pre-sort, the materials fall onto the OCC Screen. This machine is meant to separate larger pieces of cardboard directly into a holding bunker. All other materials fall through the holes between the spinning discs.

b. How it works:

The cardboard moves up across the spinning metal discs and falls over to a belt that carries it to a holding bunker to be baled. All other smaller materials fall through the holes between the spinning discs.

c. Where are the materials going next?

The materials that are destined to be separated further are going to the next part of the process, the Glass Breaker.

Glass Breaker Screen

a. What happens here?

As the sorted materials fall through the OCC screen they land on the Glass Breaker screen. This screen is designed to break the glass bottles and allow them to fall through onto a conveyor belt which conveys the material to a storage bunker for loading onto a truck.

b. How it works:

The screen has offset discs that are made from extremely hard steel to withstand the abrasiveness of the glass. The offset discs cause the materials to bounce around to free the glass from the other materials and then break until it becomes small enough to fall through the 2” openings in the screen.

c. Where are the materials going next?

The glass in the bunker will be loaded onto an end dump trailer by the wheel loader and taken to a glass recycling facility to be made into new glass products.
The materials that require further sorting are conveyed to the next part of the sorting process as they travel through the Paper Screens.

News Screen

a. What happens here?

After the Glass Breaker Screen, the materials move to the News Screen to be further sorted. This screen helps to separate containers from the larger sized paper.

b. How it works:

The News Screen works similarly to the OCC and CP Screen in that it uses a series of discs to sort paper from containers. The discs are spaced 10”apart and the containers fall between the discs and move on to the CP Screen to be further sorted. The paper will move on to a conveyor belt to the Fiber Line for quality sorting.

c. Where are the materials going next?

All paper will continue on to the Fiber Sorting Conveyors. Containers and smaller sized paper will continue on to the CP Screen to sort for the remaining paper to be sent to the Fiber Sort Conveyor. The containers will continue on to the Container Line.

CP Screen

a. What happens here?

After the News Screen, the materials move to the CP Screen to be further sorted. This Screen helps to separate containers from the smaller sized paper.

b. How it works:

The CP Screen works similarly to the OCC and News Screen in that it is using a series of discs to sort paper from containers. The discs are spaced 6” apart and the containers fall between the discs or roll off the back and continue to the container line to be further sorted. The paper will move on to a conveyor belt to the Fiber Line for quality sorting.

c. Where are the materials going next?

The containers are going to the Air Drum Separator where they will be separated further. The paper is going to the Fiber Line to be sorted through for quality.

Air Drum Separator

a. What happens here?

After the CP screen, the materials convey over the Air Drum Separator where a vacuum of air removes the small amount of paper left in the container stream.

b. How it works:

The Air Drum Separator is a perforated drum that rotates horizontally. The drum is perforated so that air can be vacuumed thru the holes in the drum causing the paper to adhere to the surface of the drum. As it rotates the paper is released from the drum when the vacuum is blocked on the back side. The paper falls off of the drum onto a conveyor that conveys it to the Fiber Line. The containers continue on to the Aladdin Optical Sorter for further sorting.

c. Where are the materials going next?

After the Air Drum Separator has removed more paper from the containers, the containers fall onto a high speed conveyor that takes the material thru an Optical Sorting System.

Aladdin Optical Sorter

a. What happens here?

The materials are conveyed at a very high speed to single layer the containers which allows the Optical Sorter to identify and mechanically sort PETE containers. PETE is the plastic that has #1 on it and are generally water and soda bottles.

b. How it works:

The Optical Sorter is designed to sort the PETE by optically scanning the materials and generating a short burst of air on any materials it identifies as PETE plastic. That burst of air pushes the PETE containers over to another conveyor belt to go through quality control sorting.

c. Where are the materials going next?

From here the PETE containers will be stored in a holding bunker until they are baled. The remaining containers will continue to the Drum Magnet Separator.

Drum Magnet Separator

a. What happens here?

The remaining containers convey over the Drum Magnet Separator which removes the Steel Cans from the container stream.

b. How it works:

When the containers fall onto the back side of the Drum, the magnet attracts the steel cans onto the drum while the remaining containers fall through. As the Drum rotates the steel cans are released from the magnet and they fall onto a conveyor which drops them into a bunker.

c. Where are the materials going next?

The Steel Cans are conveyed into a holding bunker until they are baled. The remaining containers continue to the Plastic Sorting Line.

Plastic Sorting Line

a. What happens here?

Personnel manually sort the HDPE containers into two separate types, a non-pigmented and a pigmented type. The non-pigmented are primarily milk cartons and the pigmented are primarily laundry detergent type bottles. After sorting the HDPE containers another person sorts the #3 thru #7 mixed plastic containers into another bunker.

b. How it works:

The sorting personnel are positioned in front of a conveyor and they identify and toss the plastic container in a bunker on the other side of the conveyor. The sorted materials are stored in a large bunker until they are baled.

c. Where are the materials going next?

The sorted plastic containers are stored in a bunker until they are baled. The remaining aluminum cans are conveyed to an Eddy Current Separator to be separated from small un-sortable and non-recyclable materials.

Eddy Current Separator

a. What happens here?

After the Plastic Sorting Line, the material heads to the Eddy Current. This is a specially designed machine to sort aluminum.

b. How it works:

Since aluminum is not magnetic, it was not separated out with the cross-belt magnet. So this machine gives a positive charge to the aluminum and makes it jump up off the belt, over a separator bar, and onto a quality control conveyor.

c. Where are the materials going next?

After a quality control sorter has ensured the sorted material is 100% aluminum, the aluminum cans are blown into a holding bunker until it is baled.

Two Ram Baling System

a. What happens here?

As materials are sorted, they are placed into large holding bunkers below the sorters. As those bunkers fill, a signal is sent to the operator of the baler which tells him it is time to bale a given material. The baler makes dense cubes of one material at a time, ties the bale with thick wire and pushes it out to be stored before shipping.

b. How it works:

As holding bunkers become full and item needs to be baled, the operator of the baler will send a signal to the bunker for it to open its door. The door opens and material is either gravity fed or pushed through a floor bunker, out on to the main belt. The main belt runs along in between the holding bunkers. Material is fed into the baler and made into bales weighing anywhere from 900 to 1800 pounds each. Bales are stored until they are loaded on trucks to be shipped to mills.

c. Where are the materials going next?

Bales of each material are stored together awaiting semi-trucks to take them to be made into new materials.