Murphy Road Recycling to build MRF in Berlin, Connecticut

Murphy Road Recycling, headquartered in Enfield, Connecticut, has announced that it will build a $30 million material recovery facility (MRF) in Berlin, Connecticut. The All American MRF will feature a processing system supplied by Van Dyk Recycling Solutions of Norwalk, Connecticut, that includes optical sorters as well as artificial intelligence and robotics.

Murphy Road Recycling is part of a family-owned and -operated team of subsidiaries and affiliates that provide recycling and waste management services to Connecticut and western Massachusetts.

The All American system will be operational by early 2022 and will employ 200 people during the construction phase and another 50 people when fully operational. Once online, it will be capable of processing in excess of 50 tons of recyclables per hour, with a projected annual capacity of at least 200,000 tons, providing Connecticut with a critical resource to reach its 60 percent waste disposal diversion goal.

“Murphy Road Recycling and Van Dyk Recycling Solutions are proud of their deep roots in Connecticut, and we are excited to leverage our local knowledge and industry-leading expertise to modernize and transform recycling in our home state,” says Frank Antonacci of Murphy Road Recycling.

Murphy Road Recycling says it approached Van Dyk Recycling Solutions more than a year ago to help it deliver on its vision for a new MRF that would increase the quantity, quality and purity of recovered recyclables; provide an innovative and safe working environment; and have the flexibility to adapt to ever-evolving consumer habits and recycling market conditions.

“Today’s curbside material isn’t what it was 10-15 years ago,” says Jonathan Murray, director of operations for Murphy Road Recycling. “It was heavy on newspaper and relatively clean. Today, everyone reads news online and orders everything from the internet. Today’s stream is full of small cardboard boxes and shipping envelopes, and requires that we, as recyclers, innovate and change our thinking around the sorting of recyclables.”

The All American MRF will feature a fully integrated system that includes artificial intelligence and several second-chance mechanisms to ensure valuable material is recovered. The design includes equipment to target paper, cardboard, boxboard, glass and five types of plastic.

“It will employ an unprecedented 11 optical scanners, which can identify and separate materials based on their chemical composition and will utilize robotics and artificial intelligence to perform additional quality control on the final mixed-paper line before baling,” Pieter Van Dijk, CEO of Van Dyk Recycling Solutions, says. “As material trends change over time, these machines can simply be reprogrammed to adapt and prevent the system from aging out.”

He adds, “This facility will include cutting-edge technology and safety measures that will be the new industry gold standard, not just in Connecticut, but across the country.”

In addition to producing high-quality recyclables, the MRF is designed to keep its employees safer. The All American MRF’s “monolevel structure” and heightened focus on automation will create the innovative and safe working environment that Murphy Road Recycling was seeking, the company says.

“The health and safety of our employees is our No. 1 concern at Murphy Road Recycling,” Antonacci says. “That is why we invested heavily in automation to further increase the safety and productivity of the facility. We are retraining employees for positions to operate and maintain the optical sorter and other equipment, which are higher skilled, higher wage positions.”

Antonacci adds, “The All American MRF is built to solve the recycling challenges of today while investing in breakthrough technologies to address the ever-evolving recycling stream of tomorrow.”

Webster Industries acquires Action Equipment Co.

Action Equipment Co. Inc., Newburg, Oregon, has been acquired by Webster Industries. Webster Industries, based in Tiffin, Ohio, is an employee-owned manufacturer of conveyor chains, sprockets, vibrating conveyors and specialty castings.

Under the agreement, Action will continue to manufacture vibratory process equipment for a range of industries.

“It is an exciting merger—one in which both companies strategically complement each other. Action’s team is passionate about its core competence and strengths, vibratory technology and looks forward to continued marketplace growth alongside Webster. Expect new products, enhanced service for existing relationships, and as always, exceptional equipment designs,” Action President Andrew LaVeine says. “As an employee-owned organization, both Webster and Action operate as a team of owners with each person bringing their abilities, talents, experience and backgrounds for a shared purpose, which is to serve our customers.”

Dennis Eagle enters US waste truck market

Dennis Eagle Inc., with headquarters in Summerville, South Carolina, has announced it is entering the U.S. refuse truck market. Dennis Eagle, which is part of the U.K.-based Terberg RosRoca Group, is a manufacturer of refuse truck chassis and bodies.

The company will manufacture its ProView chassis out of its Summerville production facility. According to the company, its trucks offer operators greater safety and efficiency enhancements.

Dennis Eagle says its trucks feature a low-entry, walk-through cab that can comfortably seat a driver and “three-crew.” Additionally, the cab is designed with enhanced visibility to provide the driver with as much direct vision as possible to better see other drivers and obstacles around the vehicle.

“Technology and design have made such an impact in waste management that there is now a gap in the market for a specialist truck, designed and built for vocational use, and we are filling that gap,” Dennis Eagle Inc. President Ian Handley says. “This is an American truck. It is specifically designed for American operators. It’s made in America, and it uses American components. We have been trialing the vehicle for four years and are confident it will be a huge success.

“It’s big on safety and big on efficiency, and we expect it to make a major impact on the vocational market in general and waste management operations in particular here in North America,” Handley continues. “We’ve set up a network of established dealers to cover the whole of North America.”

According to the company, its first all-electric refuse truck is already in production, and units were delivered to the first U.K. customers this past fall.

Amp Robotics to operate secondary sorting facilities

Matanya Horowitz, founder and CEO of Amp Robotics Corp., a Denver-based company that develops artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics for the recycling industry, says the company has developed a “really good solution for secondary sortation” that uses robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). The company is looking for partners that could benefit from the solution, such as plastic reclaimers or material recovery facilities (MRFs) that have high disposal costs for the residue they generate.

“We are looking to be really involved and prescriptive about how this thing would work,” he says. “We are looking at it as a system rather than an individual component, like a robot.”

Operation of the facilities would be Amp’s responsibility. “The reason for that is we’ve been able to tie our technology pretty closely together, and, so to a large extent, our software is really the one operating the facility. We can really tune that facility to what some end customer might really want.”

The company has piloted an automated facility design for advanced secondary sortation at its company-owned test facility in Denver. That pilot plant offers an infrastructure model that can process and aggregate small volumes of difficult-to-recycle mixed plastics, paper and metals sourced from residue supplied by primary MRFs, Amp says in a news release about the secondary sorting system.

“Secondary sortation efforts are not new but have been held back by how to make it work economically and at scale,” Horowitz says in the news release. “Amp’s application of AI for material identification and advanced automation has matured to the point where it’s now feasible to develop low-volume secondary sortation facilities that are economical to deploy and sustain nationally. Results we’ve observed at our test facility are promising and represent an infrastructure solution that can increase recycling rates, divert recyclables from the landfill, meet the growing demand for recycled content and protect our environment.”

The company’s secondary sorting facilities apply advanced automation enabled by AI to economically sort through these low volumes of residue or mixed plastics to recover polyethylene terephthalate (PET), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), polypropylene (PP) and polystyrene (PS), the company says. These material streams also could contain used beverage cans (UBCs) and old corrugated containers (OCC). Amp says its secondary facilities can drive down the cost of recovery while creating contamination-free, high-quality bales of recycled material for resale.

Horowitz says Amp will evaluate the material streams from the companies it partners with to determine whether and how much it will pay for the material. The company can do so by running bales from the facilities in question through the vision system at its test facility to characterize the material. If the value of the incoming material doesn’t warrant payment, Horowitz says suppliers can still benefit from avoided disposal fees, though a modest tipping fee would apply to process the material at the secondary sorting facility. He adds that by sending their residue to these facilities for secondary processing, MRFs could realize new revenue streams, changing “the equation for them.”

The company says it plans to roll out a number of secondary facilities in other parts of the country during 2021. Horowitz says large metro areas that have several MRFs are ideal locations and would be able to supply the 30,000 tons per year necessary to make a location viable. Locating in such an area also would reduce transportation costs.

City of Berkeley chooses AMCS software for waste and recycling

California’s Berkeley Public Works Department Zero Waste Commission has signed on to use the AMCS Platform to modernize and unify its Zero Waste operation.

According to AMCS, with U.S. headquarters in Boston, its AMCS Platform best fit the requirements of the city’s Zero Waste division and scored highest in the city’s evaluation criteria.

Berkeley, located 10 miles northeast of San Francisco, is a densely populated city of more than 118,000 residents. The city is defined to a large degree, culturally and economically, by the presence of the University of California campus. As such, the city prides itself on being progressive, especially as it relates to the environment.

The city’s Zero Waste philosophy adheres to the definition adopted by the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA), “Zero waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources and not to burn or bury them.”

The city of Berkeley established the Zero Waste Commission to help divert waste from its landfill and maximize the benefits of recycling. In addition to a municipal transfer station and landfill, the commission operates a 32-truck fleet to service the community’s waste and recycling operations.

The program has been wrestling with a legacy billing and work order system, supplemented by—but not integrated with—its customer relationship management (CRM) system. After long-term internal and third-party evaluation of its technology needs, the existing solution was deemed outdated, inadequate and incapable of providing functionality for running a modern-day zero-waste program.

The inefficiencies in business workflow, delayed community response times, and limited reporting and analysis capabilities hampered efforts to manage city refuse, recycling and organics collection effectively, according to the city. In addition, the legacy tools required heavy support from its IT staff.

According to AMCS, the AMCS Platform will help alleviate inefficiencies through some of the following measures:

  • It will broaden constituent self-service capabilities, including online bill payment, and the AMCS self-service customer portal will empower residents and other stakeholders to access and manage their accounts online, 24/7.
  • It will allow the city to optimize waste routes and provide real-time mobile communications. The AMCS Mobile solution also provides GPS-based routes that are preplanned and distributed to drivers.
  • The AMCS integration also will help improve business processes based on best practices, improve business and system integration, eliminate duplicate data entry and improve access to data and user-friendly reporting tools. The AMCS Enterprise Management solution will streamline processes into one system with end-to-end visibility.