MRFs and other Carton Council members adapt during COVID-19
In the last number of weeks, COVID-19 has turned our day-to-day life upside down. As we all adjust to a new social reality, many of our partners and Carton Council of Canada members are on the front lines of this crisis, doing what they can to help support the ongoing recycling efforts of our communities.
On behalf of the CCC, thank you for your outstanding commitment.
There are many ways that MRFs and other recycling partners are adapting their processes and businesses to this unusual time.
Nancy Doyon, Director of Development of Récupéraction Centre-du-Québec in Drummondville, QC recently shared some of their strategies with me. The more we can share best practices, the more equipped we are to continue navigating new challenges.
Récupéraction Centre-du-Québec operates a recyclables sorting facility in addition to managing one of the most functional ecocentres in Quebec. The company has 175 staff and they process approximately 30,000 tonnes per year of recyclable materials from the regional county municipalities of Drummond, Acton and Les Maskoutains, and from the Sorel-Tracy area.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, the team at Récupéraction Centre-du-Québec have implemented a number of proactive strategies including:
Regular meetings with staff to emphasize hygiene and social distancing measures
Taking advantage of their facility's physical layout, allowing them to ensure a minimum distance of 2 m between sorters at sorting stations
Disinfecting 4 times per day
Splitting break and lunch times into two shifts, in order to have half the people together during those times and maintain appropriate physical distances between everyone
Traditionally, waste management companies have operated using a simple "management of waste" approach to operating a MRF. Throughput targets and continuous operation (minimal downtime) were the main driving forces. The industry has changed however, and the focus moving forward is now on optimizing system performance and reliability, in conjunction with increasing recycling rates and a drive for a "greener" and more sustainable tomorrow.
When considering the addition of, or upgrade to, an "intelligent" MRF, for municipalities or private operators, the main factors should always be the client's (operator) current requirements, and evolving market needs, which include throughput, reliability, output quality, and adaptability. Equally important is a full understanding of what is really expected from any proposed system. Having an engaged and focused mindset for the project with the client from the beginning, will impact and drive the entire design process. This then impacts the overall project result, through to the productive, efficient, ongoing operation of the facility itself.