Examples of MRF's Who Have Successfully Added Aluminum Can Capture Equipment


REPUBLIC SERVICES MRF IN ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI


  • Equipment installed: Second eddy current on glass discharge line of sorting system
  • Amount of cans going to landfill: 60-80 cans per minute
  • Amount of cans captured after new equipment installed: 15 tons per month of aluminum  

“We were missing valuable UBCs on our residue line. After installing the second eddy current, we’re getting crushed cans, pieces of cans, and smaller aluminum cans out of residue and into bales which results in more revenue." - Brent Batliner, MRF Manager, Capturing the Last Can


SINGLE STREAM RECYCLERS IN SARASOTA, FLORIDA


  • Equipment installed: Fourteen robotic sorters from AMP Robotics, one of which focuses on quality control for UBCs.
  • Amount of cans going to landfill: N/A (applied to fiber line) The delta-style robotic arms are working in pairs because the fiber belt is so wide. The belt speeds and material volumes are also high. Hansen said when humans were providing the bulk of the paper line QC, the belt was running at 140 feet per minute; with the robots, it’s running at 260-270 feet per minute, to create a better spread between materials.
  • Amount of cans captured after new equipment installed: N/A 

“We’ve definitely realized the upside to having them with our end-market pricing. What we thought would happen has really happened.” 

“The container line QC ones got up to speed in a real hurry and were really effective very, very early on literally days after the installation, days later they were picking 70 to 80 picks per minute.” (note that “picks” refers to the robot picking out items that are not UBCs, such as cat food cans, foil and other non-UBCs.) - John Hansen, co-owner of Single Stream Recyclers, How robots are cleaning up a MRF’s paper bales


WASTE MANAGEMENT MRF IN ELKRIDGE, MD


  • Equipment installed: second eddy current on glass discharge line of sorting system
  • Amount of cans going to landfill: N/A
  • Amount of cans captured after new equipment installed: 15 tons per month of aluminum 

"Retrofitting the second eddy current to fit on the glass discharge line wasn’t easy, but it wasworth it to capture the material.” - Mike Taylor, Director of Recycling Operations, Capturing the Last Can

 


EUREKA RECYCLING MRF IN MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA


  • Equipment installed: Bigger second eddy current separator + other upgrades (screens and ballistics)
  • Amount of cans going to landfill: N/A
  • Amount of cans captured after new equipment installed: N/A | New equipment reduced the containers in paper grades by 50 percent 

“We saw an increasing number of flattened aluminum cans and plastic bottles in our paper, so we worked with our equipment vendor to install additional screens and ballistics as well as a bigger second eddy current. This helped to reduce the containers in our paper grades by 50 percent.”  

“Prior to this, our estimates were that 3-5 percent of UBCs were lost due to mis-sorting, and this number has been reduced to under 2 percent…This system upgrade was really effective in getting the aluminum out.” - Kate Davenport, co-president of Eureka Recycling, Capturing the Last Can (CMI Webinar)


RUMPKE MRF IN CINCINNATI, OHIO 


Rumpke installed a third eddy current at the end of their container stream trash line to pick up UBCs that the primary and secondary eddy currents may have missed. Their primary eddy is located on the container line after steel cans and HDPE are removed. The second unit is located on the out throw line of the glass cleaning system capturing UBC’s not sorted out in the glass breaker screens. 

  • Equipment installed: Second eddy current at the end of the glass line
  • Amount of cans going to landfill: 180 pounds per hour
  • Amount of cans captured after new equipment installed: Approximately 170 pounds per hour or around 94.4% of what is presented 
  • Equipment installed: Third eddy current, end of trash line
  • Amount of cans going to landfill: 36,360 pounds per month
  • Amount of cans captured after new equipment installed: 36,000 additional pounds per month. Annualized, approximately 432,000 pounds per year, which is a 9.8% overall increase in UBC volumes 

Based on today’s pricing, the ROI period for the third eddy current is in the neighborhood of 12-14 months. It’s very important to always look for revenue opportunities within the tons you already have. Increasing revenue by finding more volume to process is great, but that also ads more costs. Sometimes a “small” capital investment can pay big dividends.”- Brad Dunn, Recycling Operations Manager, Rumpke 


RECYCLING AND EDUCATION CENTER IN KENT COUNTY, MICHIGAN


  • Equipment installed: A primary eddy current
  • Amount of cans going to landfill: manual sorting process is missing as much as 300 pounds of UBC per day
  • Amount of cans captured after new equipment installed: projecting ROI of less than 1 year, projecting increase of $21,000 in revenue and lower labor costs associated with manual sorting 

“With the evolution of packaging in the food and beverage industry and drastic shifts in consumer behavior over the years, we’ve seen a growing need to add staff to the sorting line to recover aluminum UBC material. COVID-19 brought closures and other limitations to bottle deposit returns at retail stores and Kent County’s Recycling & Education Center is now seeing 2.5-3x the amount of aluminum that we saw last year.”

“The cost of labor is a huge consideration in the decision to add an eddy current, or any equipment for that matter. To be able to capture all the UBC on our lines we’d need to have three staff assigned to that one material. Not only is labor a major expense, it’s a hard thing to secure right now so automation is going to give us a level of confidence that we’ll be able to consistently pull put a material that has market value and will not draw down on our labor force to do so. - Kristen Wieland, Marketing and Communications Manager, Kent County Department of Public Works (Provided via e-mail September 2020.)


For more on the opportunity to capture missorted cans with additional aluminum can capture equipment that can pay for itself with the additional revenue generated from cans captured, check out the report Aluminum Beverage Cans: Driver of the U.S. Recycling System.