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 who desire in-depth discussions on issues in operating a material recovery facility (MRF). Faced with the dual challenge of increasingly complex and capital-intensive equipment and radically changing markets and material streams, meaningful discussions with industry professionals is invaluable.

Technology Has Changed Plant Operations

Material recovery facilities (MRFs) 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 these components 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

It is estimated that MRF 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 are 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 MRF operator’s responsibilities. Doing it right, doing it regularly and not interrupting operations to make it happen are critical.


Safely 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 families is the job. These combined demands necessitate a forum during which MRF operators can learn, grow and share with one another.


Make plans to join us for the 2020 MRF Operations Forum; it’s a must!