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Location: 357 Avenue C, Williston, VT 05495
Hours: Monday through Friday 6:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Certain holidays may affect hours of operation.
Phone: (802) 651-5481
Fee: $21/ton. Fee effective July 1, 2015.

Center map

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 must have a current CSWD Hauler License to bring materials to the MRF.

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.

Want to see this map in full size? Take a tour of the MRF!

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.

Tours of the MRF

MRF tours are offered April through November by appointment only for groups of 6 or more. Please see our Tours page for more details and to request a tour.

Sign up for the CSWD Newsflash to make sure you don’t miss our periodic offerings for tours available to the general public.


Learn more about the recycling process in this behind-the-scenes MRF video produced in 2015 by CSWD with support from the Regional Education Television Network (RETN):


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.