Why the Forum?


The MRF Operations Forum is the only event specifically dedicated to plant operations, not policy and markets.

The forum is the result of many conversations with plant owners and operators desiring in-depth discussions on issues found on the plant operating floor. Faced with the dual challenge of increasingly complex and capital-intensive equipment investments and radically changing markets and material streams, a deep dive among professionals is invaluable.

Technology Has Changed Plant Operations

Recycling plants have become more and more complex as machinery and systems have become more advanced. Robotic sorting, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are the newest technologies reshaping MRF operations while fiber screens are being replaced with better solutions.


Optimizing this equipment to run efficiently is challenging. It requires plant operators to understand each component, how they relate to one another and to the material streams being processed. It’s no easy job.


Advancements in technology also mean that retrofitting new components into a plant can add real boosts to production, efficiency and material quality. Understanding when and how to do this is critical; it can provide a tremendous competitive advantage or become a costly mistake.

Materials and Markets Have Changed Plant Operations

At the same time material flows have changed. Lightweighting means that the volume of material that constitutes a ton has grown drastically. Long fiber has largely disappeared from the flows with the reduction in newspapers while single sheet fiber, old corrugated containers (OCC) and boxboard volumes have grown.


All of this has occurred while end markets in China have all but disappeared, creating a new paradigm for quality measurement and materials marketing with a growing emphasis toward domestic mills.

$2 Billion in Costs

Recycling plant operation is also a costly undertaking. It is estimated that plant operations and maintenance costs exceed $2 billion annually in the U.S. It’s a huge number! Effectively managing a plant’s costs is the difference between profitable and unprofitable processing.


Optimizing wear parts, energy consumption, downtime and recurring maintenance is essential. Of course, directly linked to these costs is the issue of contamination. Out-of-program materials that enter recycling plants are often the cause of unplanned downtime and increased wear.


Today, managing material audit programs and providing detailed, quantifiable feedback to program administrators is a key component of a plant operator’s responsibilities. Doing it right, doing it regularly and not interrupting operations to make it happen is critical.


Safety or Not at All

Managing all of this while creating a safe environment for your workforce, allowing them to be productive, accurate and go home to their family is the job today. These combined demands make the need for a forum during which plant operators can learn, grow and share with one another essential.


Make plans to join us for the 2019 MRF Operations Forum, it’s a must!