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City of Winnipeg
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Automated recycling facility

Winnipeg's original single stream automated recycling facility, also called a material recovery facility (MRF - pronounced murf), processes all the paper, cardboard, aluminum, glass and plastics collected from the curbside collection program (homes and apartments) and the recycling depots.

What is single stream recycling?

It's when recyclable materials can be combined and collected together:

  • customers don't have to sort their recyclable materials
  • collectors don't have to sort them into the collection truck
How does the automated sorting system work?
  • Star screen photoThree star screens separate the paper materials from the beverage containers.
    • A star screen is a series of shafts fitted with rotating cams shaped like stars or asterisks.
    • The paper products are propelled forward, while the containers fall through the openings between the shafts.
    • Over 90 per cent of the paper is removed mechanically by the star screens, with the remainder, along with any contaminants, removed by manual sorters.
  • The containers that have fallen through the star screens continue through the system to the beverage container sorting line.
  • Before being manually sorted, the containers pass under a magnet to remove ferrous metals, an eddy current system to remove aluminum cans, a glass breaker screen to remove glass and two optical sorters to remove excess small paper and #1 plastic containers.
  • The individual materials are then baled and placed in the shipping area to await transportation to manufacturing plants all over the world.
How much material is processed at the MRF?

MRF incoming materialsThe MRF can process about 12 to 16 tonnes of mixed recycling materials per hour. We process approximately 55,000 tonnes each year.

What kind of equipment is in the MRF?

The material recovery facility features equipment from
Bollegraaf Recycling Machinery.

Who owns and runs the MRF?

Emterra Environmental owns and operates Winnipeg's material recovery facility.

Did you know?
  • 90% (by weight) of the operation is automated
  • some manual sorting is required to identify items that can't be sorted by machines (e.g., some plastics) and those materials that aren't accepted in the program
  • paper is in and out of the facility in an average of 24 hours
  • 6 trailers of paper/cardboard are processed per day
  • the facility operates 5 days per week
  • on average, 190 thousand kilograms of materials are processed per day
  • Approximately 40,000 homes are serviced by 40 trucks per day
  • 175 bales of material are processed each day, each bale weighing about 700 kilograms
Last updated: November 2, 2017