Material Recovery Facility ("MRF")


A materials recovery facility is a plant that sorts, separates and prepares single-stream recycling materials to be sold to end buyers. 

In the context of the national recycling system, we are referring to the facilities that sort the material collected in blue bins. 

Materials arrive at the facility via recycling trucks, where a mix of automated and manual sorting processes separates recyclable items from non-recyclable waste. The filter grate also removes small items (<6cm) because they cannot be baled. 

Recyclables are then compressed into bales for shipping, while glass is directly placed into shipping containers.

See this video on what happens at a MRF

A large cube of compressed plastic bottles in a recycling facility.

Recycling is NOT done at an MRF: only sorting. 

Single Stream

These sorting facilities are an essential part of the National Recycling Programme which starts with the blue bin and ends with sorted material suitable for recyclers. This is a single stream system meaning that all the materials (metal, paper, glass, plastic) are binned and trucked together.

Note: E-waste and other collection schemes do not go through these facilities.

Last Updated: May 11, 2024