YCAN visits a MRF

We had our first ever YCAN excursion this week. We visited the Rethink Centre at Banyule which houses a Material Recovery Facility or MRF (rhymes with Smurf). We were amazed at the extent of the technology to retrieve different materials. Particularly aluminium cans, which are non-magnetic. (It involved rare earths and electromagnetic forces which caused magnets to ‘repel’ the cans into collection chutes.)

Even the most obsessive recyclers among us learned something. Here are some of the tips that I came away with.

  • Don’t screw the caps back on bottles. It turns the air-filled bottle into a lethal weapon when it’s squashed.
  • Don’t put plastic bags in your recycling. In most facilities they don’t get recycled and they clog up the works.
  • Never put your recycling in a plastic bag. The whole lot will be discarded.
  • Bottle caps are too small for the machines to separate out. If you want to recycle them, collect them up and put them inside a steel can (eg baked bean tin) and squash the opening so they can’t fall out.