Dome Shelters for Material Recovery Facilities

A Material Recovery Facility (MRF) is a specialized plant designed to receive, sort, process, and prepare recyclable materials for re-manufacture. The primary goal of a Material Recovery Facility is to recover and divert these materials from the waste stream, preventing them from ending up in landfills and playing a crucial role in the recycling and waste management industries.

How do Material Recovery Facilities Work?

First, recyclable materials are collected from households, businesses, and other sources and transported to an MRF, where they are sorted. Workers can do This process manually or through automated systems that use conveyor belts, screens, magnets, and other equipment to separate different materials.

After sorting, the materials are processed to refine and prepare for recycling, which may involve cleaning, shredding, or compacting, depending on the commodity group. They are then baled or packaged for more accessible storage and transportation, which is crucial for optimizing the logistics of moving recyclables to manufacturers. After this process, the recyclables are distributed to appropriate re-manufacturing centers, and the leftover residual waste is sent to the landfill.

The Purposes of MRF’s

Material recovery facilities (MRFs) serve several essential purposes. They are vital in the broader framework of waste management and recycling efforts. MRFs are crucial in environmental protection as they help reduce environmental pollution. For example, recycling paper instead of manufacturing new paper from virgin pulp minimizes the demand for logging and minimizes water and air pollution associated with the production process.

MRFs also contribute to energy savings by providing recycled materials for manufacturing processes. Producing products from reclaimed materials generally requires less energy than using raw materials.

Another purpose of MRFs is to help municipalities and businesses meet regulatory requirements by efficiently processing recyclable materials, as many regions and countries have regulations and targets for waste diversion and recycling. This then helps with creating a circular economy with a more sustainable and environmentally friendly system.

Designs for Material Recovery Facilities

The material recovery industry faces a constantly changing target market, which requires high adaptability to stay profitable. Building a new material recovery facility involves significant capital investment and requires an extended timeframe for in-service operation. This makes it difficult for MRF operators to adjust real-time market conditions. Despite these challenges, operators can still plan strategically for their facilities to address the ever-evolving market.

When designing a layout for a site, it is crucial to carefully consider the types of vehicles that will be entering & exiting the premises. This includes planning for the handling of both baled and residual materials. Incorporating flexibility into the design is recommended to account for potential future changes, such as accommodating larger vehicles. The site can remain efficient by looking ahead and anticipating operational needs over several years. In addition, it is wise to plan for potential expansions of buildings and tipping areas, bale storage, and process areas to enable growth and avoid the costs and constraints of relocating later on.

Using Dome Shelters as an MRF

Industrial dome shelters can be adapted for various industrial and commercial purposes, including Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs), and provide many benefits compared to a traditional structure. Here are several ways in which they can be utilized:

  • Storage and Sorting Area: Dome shelters can provide a covered and weather-protected space for storing and sorting recyclable materials. This is particularly important for protecting materials such as paper, cardboard, and plastics from the elements, ensuring they remain dry and in good condition for processing. They can also house machinery and equipment for sorting and processing. This includes conveyor systems, sorting machines, compactors, and other equipment essential to the operation of the MRF. The shelter helps protect the equipment from weather-related damage, which extends its lifespan and reduces maintenance costs.
  • Temporary Workspaces: Fabric dome shelters can serve as temporary workspaces for MRF personnel. They can be used as break areas, offices, or meeting spaces, providing a comfortable and covered environment for staff working at the facility.
  • Vehicle Maintenance and Storage: These structures can provide covered spaces for the maintenance and storage of vehicles used in material collection and transportation. This includes trucks and other vehicles transporting recyclable materials to and from the facility.
  • Environmental Control: Due to the translucent fabric cover, dome shelters, like the ones at Allshelter, can help regulate temperatures within the structure. This is especially helpful in places where workers are working in extreme heat. The shelter provides an approximately 15°C cooler space underneath, which is essential for maintaining optimal working conditions for personnel and ensuring equipment efficiency in the MRF.
  • Temporary Expansion: If you need to expand your MRF, fabric shelters offer a flexible and modular solution for temporary or semi-permanent expansion. If there is a need for additional space for sorting, processing, or storage, dome shelters can be installed relatively quickly compared to traditional construction methods.
  • Customization: Dome shelters can be customized to meet specific MRF requirements, allowing operators to tailor them to their unique operational needs. When considering the use of dome shelters for a Material Recovery Facility, it’s essential to work closely with your shelter provider to customize the shelter based on the specific needs and requirements of the facility. Factors such as size, layout, and features should be carefully thought through to maximize the efficiency and functionality of the dome shelters within the MRF context.

In conclusion, Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) are integral to waste management and recycling efforts, playing a crucial role in environmental protection and contributing to energy savings. The dynamic nature of the material recovery industry requires strategic planning for facility design, considering factors like vehicle types and potential future expansions.

Dome shelters present a versatile solution, providing weather-protected spaces for storage, sorting, equipment housing, and temporary workspaces. Their adaptability, quick installation, and energy-efficient features make dome shelters valuable to MRF operations, contributing to the industry’s sustainability and growth.