marquette county MRF
The Marquette County MRF in Michigan can process up to 15,000 tons daily.
Photo courtesy of Machinex

Michigan county commissions Machinex MRF

The automated MRF can process 10,000 to 15,000 tons per year of commercial and residential single-stream material.

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January 4, 2021

Machinex has announced the November 2020 commissioning of a new residential and commercial single-stream material recovery facility (MRF) in Marquette County, Michigan, that was designed to address the challenges of rural recycling. The Plessisville, Quebec-based systems integrator says the project is the result of cooperation among Machinex, Bradley Austin from the Marquette County Solid Waste Authority and Resource Recycling Systems (RRS), Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The county received a $3 million interest-free loan from New York-based Closed Loop Fund and an $800,000 grant from Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) to build the $6.3 million facility, which was part of the funding the state allocated to recycling infrastructure in 2018. Marquette worked with RRS to find the funding opportunities. 

“Simply, we saw an opportunity to improve recycling not only in Marquette County but the Upper Peninsula as a whole,” says Brad Austin, director of operations at Marquette County Solid Waste Management Authority, of the new MRF. “The challenges of rural area recycling needed to be addressed in a more regional frame of mind. People in Upper Michigan want to recycle; however, recycling capacity and education was lacking in many parts of the region. This facility is designed to process recyclables from the entire region, and the hope is that with this new infrastructure and solid education in place, participation in recycling will increase across the entire territory.”

This MRF is highly automated, which, Machinex says, is an asset for the county’s municipalities because they lack laborers to staff the facility. With the capacity to sort 10,000 to 15,000 tons per year, the system is equipped with a back-scraping drum to ensure input material is at a consistent depth, a Mach OCC screen for cardboard sorting, a fines screen to separate glass, a Mach ballistic screen to separate containers from glass and paper, a magnet to sort ferrous metals and a Machinex two-ram baler. To sort polyethylene terephthalate and high-density polyethylene containers more efficiently, a SamurAI robot was installed, creating a loop that enables containers to be sorted with high efficiency and no waste, according to Machinex. This allows for better recovery rates and reduces the need for human sorters.

The system is designed to be reliable, efficient and flexible within a limited footprint, Machinex adds.

“The project is really rooted in managing materials more effectively,” Austin says.

He adds that the degree of organization and communication Machinex showed during the process was “impressive,” saying, “Under some very challenging circumstance with COVID-19, adjustments needed to be made on the fly in order to keep the project on schedule. The ability to bring all phases of the project together and then execute speaks to the attention to detail by the entire Machinex team.”

Chris Hawn, CEO at Machinex Technologies Inc., High Point, North Carolina, says, “It’s hard to believe that Brad reached out to Machinex in August 2017 with his original vision. Through initial discussions at tradeshows, we were able to blend our visions of the rural MRF of the future. From the time we first visited Marquette, Michigan, in early November 2017, Machinex was heart-set on earning this business. With both a great operator and a good story, nothing was going to stop us from making this a success.”