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NWRA names winners of the 2023 Recycling Awards

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Winners were selected by a panel of judges who are professionals in the waste and recycling industry. NWRA

The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) has named the winners of its 2023 Recycling Awards. Awards in four categories were given to companies that have made substantial contributions to U.S. recycling through partnerships, public education, and innovations in recycling facilities. Winners were selected by a panel of judges who are professionals in the waste and recycling industry.

"These awards honour the very best in the industry for excellence in creating innovative approaches to advance our work and constructing state-of-the-art recycling solutions that help protect the environment," said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith. "Our industry continues to make great strides in expanding options for managing materials, which yields better results for the environment and the communities we serve."

Recycling facility

The 2023 Recycling Facility of the Year Award went to Murphy Road Recycling's The All American MRF. The All American MRF has a capacity of approximately 1,000 tons per day. The facility has 11 optical sorters that ensure the system is flexible to respond to changes in the recycling market. It can be adjusted to look for different materials and different grades of recyclables.

Construction and demolition

The 2023 Construction & Demolition Recycling Facility of the Year Award went to WM Recycling Deerfield in Deerfield Beach, Florida. The facility opened in 2022 and processes 1,000 tons of debris daily. It accepts Class III waste, construction and demolition debris, and yard waste from commercial and municipal sources. It diverts approximately 800 tons of material from landfills daily. WM Recycling Deerfield's initial goal was to recycle approximately 60 percent of the material that comes to the facility. However, it averages 80 percent of inbound material and significantly exceeds its recycling goals.

Organics management

The 2023 Organics Management Facility of the Year Award was shared by WM's Varick Centralized Organics Recycling (CORe) facility in Brooklyn, New York, and Recology's Ostrom Organics compost facility in Yuba County, California. WM's CORe process recycles food waste into an engineered bioslurry of organic feedstock for use in municipal wastewater treatment plant digesters. With the CORe process, the facility can accept materials too contaminated to be processed through traditional methods.

Recology's Ostrom Organics compost facility accepts up to 250 tons of mixed organics. It is an important facility for the long-term management of organic material in Northern California. Since it opened in 2020, the facility has processed more than 136,000 tons of organic material and produced more than 80,000 yards of compost, which is sold locally,

Sustainability partnership

The 2023 Sustainability Partnership Game Changer Award went to Clean Harbors. UpCycle Arts received an honourable mention in this category. Clean Harbors is one of North America's largest refiners and recyclers of used oil and offers many environmental and industrial services including the collection, transportation, treatment, recycling, and disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous waste and wastewater treatment. In 2022, Clean Harbors collected and processed 232 million gallons of used motor oil and returned approximately 196 million gallons of new, refined oil, lubricants, and byproducts to the marketplace.

Upcycle Arts accepts donations of art supplies and provides them to communities in  Charlotte, North Carolina. Upcycle Arts partnered with Charlotte Stormwater to repurpose scraps and pieces of leather left behind in a large warehouse it had moved into. Through its outreach and partnership with Charlotte Stormwater, Upcycle Arts was able to distribute 130,000 pounds of leather.

Public education

The 2023 Excellence in Recycling Public Education Award went to American Waste Control for its Feed Mr. Murph program, which educates and encourages recycling. Mr. Murph is a cartoon image of American Waste Control's MRF. Mr. Murph tours local schools, fairs, festivals, and community events, spreading the word about recycling. American Waste Control released a 3D recycling game and an app, which teaches the recyclability of various items. Through several local partnerships, Mr. Murph helps spread the message of recycling and environmental stewardship.

Recycling equipment

The 2023 Recycling Equipment Innovator of the Year Award went to EverestLabs' RecycleOS. EverestLabs created RecycleOS to make recycling more effective and sustainable. MRFs sort tons of materials every day, and while recyclable materials are recovered, no equipment or human sorter is perfect, and plenty of recyclables still go to landfills. EverestLabs' artificial intelligence-controlled robotic cells pick two to three times more objects than human sorters with an industry-leading 90 percent success rate.

"I congratulate all our winners on their outstanding achievements and contributions. It is important we recognize the good work our industry is doing to make our communities better," said Smith.

The honorees were recognized at NWRA's Executive Leadership Roundtable event on October 4 to 5 in Asheville, North Carolina.

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