NWRA announces winners of 2021 Recycling Awards

The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) announced its 2021 Recycling Awards recipients on Sept. 2.

The 2021 Recycling Facility of the Year Award was shared by the Waste Management Hodgkins Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Hodgkins, Illinois, and the Mazza Recycling Services MRF in Tinton Falls, New Jersey. Waste Management’s Hodgkins MRF is a highly automated facility that processes 66 tons per hour. Known as Waste Management’s “MRF of the Future,” this is WM’s largest recycling facility. Control rooms at the MRF monitor processing equipment and the performance of optical sorters to provide a better understanding of what is happening in the plant from a centralized area. Waste Management believes its MRF of the Future will set the stage for future investments in residential recycling.

Mazza’s single-stream MRF was built in 2020 and designed to process 26 tons per hour. Today, the MRF handles 35 tons per hour and processes single-stream recyclables from 880,000 residents. The facility features the latest technological advancements and sorting equipment to produce cleaner commodities. The system is the only one of its kind on the East Coast.

The 2021 Organics Recycler of the Year Award also went to Waste Management. Waste Management’s current organics recycling program manages more than 3.5 million tons of material annually across 44 organics recycling facilities in the U.S., including 38 mulch and composting operations, four CORe food waste processing plants, and two new advanced facilities that employ state-of-the-art technologies to extract organics from the waste stream.

The 2021 Innovator of the Year Award went to AMP Robotics, Louisville, Colorado. AMP Robotics’ artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics technology are helping the waste industry combat challenges by modernizing recycling, improving material quality, ensuring worker safety, increasing productivity, lowering costs, diverting waste from landfills, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and increasing overall rates of resource recovery.

The company recently debuted AMP Clarity, an AI-powered material characterization software solution that enables the recognition and classification of recyclables that flow through different recovery stages of the recycling process. This innovation serves as a breakthrough in the effort toward providing measurable transparency on the recyclables captured and missed during different recycling processes. AMP Clarity can also help increase recycling rates and create new value streams for recyclables, ultimately aiding companies in their pursuit of recycled content goals.

“I congratulate all our winners on their outstanding achievements and contributions. It is important we recognize the good work our industry is doing to make our communities better,” NWRA CEO Darrell Smith says.