CSWD Materials Recovery Facility (MRF)
Location: 357 Avenue C in Williston.
Hours: Monday through Friday 6:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Certain holidays may affect hours of operation.
Fee: $21/ton. Fee is current as of July 1, 2015.
About the Materials Recovery Facility
The Materials Recovery Facility, or MRF (rhymes with “smurf”), is where large loads of recyclables are sorted and prepared for market. The MRF is owned by Chittenden Solid Waste District and operated under contract by Casella Waste Management. Although primarily for use by licensed commercial haulers, the MRF also accepts large loads (one cubic yard minimum per trip) from residents and businesses who want to haul recyclables themselves.
Commercial haulers interested in bringing recycling to the MRF must have a current Hauler License.
How the MRF works
All-in-one recycling (also known as single-stream recycling) equipment at the MRF mechanically separates bottles, cans and other containers from mixed paper and cardboard. After the initial sort, workers manually separate the recyclables (except glass) into different material types that are then compacted into bales and shipped to market where they are made into recycled products.
Glass is crushed to create aggregate that’s available for no charge to anyone who needs it for civil engineering applications such as subbase layers, utility trench bedding and backfill and drainage applications.
- ANR Acceptable Uses for Glass Aggregate
- Map representing material flow inside the MRF
- MRF Quality Control Policy
- FY13 Fact Sheet
Tours of the MRF
MRF tours are suspended until further notice. We’ve just finished overhauling almost the entire plant and are still tweaking operations. We’re also looking at how we conduct tours in this space, and how to balance accessibility to the public with increasing safety concerns.
We hope to again be offering MRF tours in 2015. Sign up for the CSWD Newsflash to make sure you don’t miss the reopening news.
Videos of the MRF
“Stuck in Vermont” video of the MRF created by Seven Days newspaper reporter/videographer Eva Sollberger:
“Single-Stream Processing of Recyclables” created by Antioch University student Randy Russell:
Burlington Free Press video created by photographer/videographer Glenn Russell:
How the MRF is funded
MRF expenses & revenues
(as projected in the FY 15 CSWD budget)
Operating & program expenses
(tip fees: $429,000 +
sale of recyclables: $1,863,762)
Depreciation equipment reserves
When mixed recyclables are brought to the MRF, they are separated and prepared to be sold as commodities in the global marketplace. We use earnings from these recyclables to help maintain and operate the recycling program.
Another funding source is our tipping fee. This is what we charge haulers by the ton for “tipping” their truckloads of recyclables into our MRF. While we have no control over how much we earn from our recyclables in the global commodities market, we are able to change the tipping fee to balance out our cash flow, making sure the machinery stays on and workers are paid even when the markets are less favorable. When we can, we share surplus revenues with haulers by reducing or eliminating our tipping fee. When the markets have been really high, we actually have paid the haulers per ton for the material.
- 47,754 = the number of households in Chittenden County that subscribe to curbside hauling services.
- 12,431 tons = the amount of recycling that comes from those 47,754 curbside customers per year.
- 0.26 tons = the average amount of recycling each of those curbside household customers generate per year (12,431 tons ÷ 47,745 households).
- $21.00/ton = the fee CSWD charges haulers for bringing in recyclables.
- $0.46 = The monthly fee per household, if each household were to be charged directly per month for their recyclables (.26 ton x $21.00 per ton = $5.46 per year; $5.46 ÷ 12 months = $0.46 per month)
(Note: customer numbers vary over time. These figures reflect the lay of the land in October, 2014.)
Recycling is not free. There are costs that must be borne by haulers who bring us the recyclables they pick up from their curbside customers (trucks, fuel, personnel, equipment, etc.), and it costs CSWD money to build, maintain, and operate the facility and programs, as well as to transport those recyclables to the global markets that purchase those materials from us.
As one example of the ever-changing nature of the commodities markets, in October 2014, one of our major newspaper recyclers announced that it is closing. This will force us to transport our paper farther, possibly even overseas, which will increase our transport costs, leaving less available for weathering other downturns and for funding the recycling program.