Striking a Balance: When it came time to expand the capabilities of its Columbus, Ohio, material recovery facility, Rumpke turned to Machinex.
At each of its 11 recycling facilities, Cincinnati-based Rumpke Recycling tries to balance the needs of the residents it serves as well as those of its consuming customers. This philosophy is evident in the upgrade the company recently completed at its Columbus, Ohio, MRF, which Rumpke accomplished with the help of systems supplier Machinex, Plessisville, Quebec.
“Residents continually ask to recycle more items,” says Jonathan Kissell, Rumpke corporate communications supervisor. “The renovated system allows Rumpke to now accept cartons (e.g., gable tops and aseptic) thanks to an optical scanner designed to separate these items.”
He continues, “MRF operators are under more scrutiny than ever to provide ‘clean’ recyclables with minimal contamination of unwanted items. We needed to install technology and sorting equipment to meet this critical demand.”
The regional processing facility primarily handles material from Greater Columbus along with recyclables from Rumpke facilities in the nearby Ohio communities of Chillicothe, Circleville, Ironton, Mansfield and Mt. Vernon.
Approximately one-third of the material Rumpke handles at its Columbus MRF comes from drop-off programs, which was also taken into consideration in the facility’s upgrade. “Traditionally, drop-off boxes contain a lot of items that are not acceptable for recycling,” Kissell says. “This often includes large items, like furniture, or high quantities of plastic bags.”
The Columbus MRF includes a bag breaker and air recovery system for plastic bags. “The breaker rips the bags open to release the recyclables inside. Then, the air recovery system sucks the bags out of the mix,” Kissell says. “Unfortunately, plastic bags are not acceptable in our system, but we are now able to manage the large quantities that we receive.”
Large pieces of cardboard (OCC) also are common at the drop-off locations, prompting Rumpke to install a triple deck screen system at its Columbus MRF.
The single-stream sorting system can process 60,000 pounds of material per hour, double its pre-renovation rate. Five optical scanners combine with eddy currents, traditional overhead magnets, disc screens and more than 2,530 feet of conveyor belts to separate the incoming material.
The system includes a flat fraction separator, which uses industrial-strength fans spinning in reverse to attract small bits of paper, while containers remain on the conveyor belt below.
The MRF also features a comprehensive mixed glass cleanup system, which uses air and mechanical separation to remove contaminants and prepare glass for use as a raw material. The glass exits the building into an on-site silo. The glass recovered at Rumpke’s Columbus MRF is transported by truck to the company’s Dayton, Ohio, regional glass processing facility for further processing, readying it for use by the glass container and fiberglass insulation industries.
Steve Sargent, corporate director of recycling at Rumpke, says flexibility has been built into the MRF’s processing system, which allows Rumpke the ability to respond to the needs of its consuming customers.
Kissell adds, “Rumpke has had a good experience with Machinex on several projects, including the major renovation in Columbus and an aluminum can processing system in Georgetown, Ky.”