Summer 2022 Newsletter

Volume 9, Issue 1

MRF Profiles: City of Kingston, City of Peterborough

In the last few months, Isabelle Faucher, Managing Director of Carton Council of Canada, has had the opportunity to visit two of Ontario’s Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs): one located in Kingston, Ontario; the other, in Peterborough, Ontario.

City of Kingston Material Recovery Facility

CCC’s Managing Director (left) and Eden Cameron, Waste Services Coordinator at the City of Kingston (right) standing in front of a bale of cartons.

On April 14, 2022, Isabelle had the opportunity to visit the City of Kingston’s sorting facility. There, she met with Eden Cameron, Waste Services Coordinator, and spoke with Adam Mueller, Supervisor, Solid Waste Disposal.

The facility services more than 57,000 households in Kingston and many surrounding municipalities as well. It has an estimated annual throughput of 11,550MT, and sold almost 113 MT of carton tonnage in 2021. They have been making a carton grade since at least 1999. A small retrofit took place 1.5 years ago to upgrade the MRF’s sorting equipment. Emterra provides processing services, but the City markets the recyclables itself.

In Kingston, cartons are collected as part of the fibre stream instead of the container stream so they don’t compete with other 3-D materials. At the MRF, cartons are hand sorted at the end of the fibre line. For cartons that are erroneously found in the container stream, sorters pick them out and redirect them to the fibre stream, when this is possible.

According to the Kingston team, they see significantly more products packaged in cartons coming through the facility than in recent years (e.g., broth and dairy alternatives such as almond milk) and, in their experience, the cartons are usually clean.

Acknowledging that the market fluctuations for cartons can be challenging, the Kingston MRF team encourages other MRFs to consider a carton grade, reporting that cartons represent 5-6 loads/per year for them, which they see as well worth the effort to keep this material out of landfill.

Under the new Blue Box Regulation, Kingston is set to transition its program in 2025 and is still in the process of determining how it wishes to proceed in terms of post-collection operations.

Kingston MRF Photo Gallery

City of Peterborough Material Recovery Facility

On May 10th, Isabelle was also able to visit The City of Peterborough’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). Here, she was able to speak with both David Deem, Senior Operations Manager (for both the Peterborough and Renfrew MRF) and Todd Petherick, the MRF’s Plant Supervisor. Both are employed by Emterra.

This city-owned MRF services both the City and County of Peterborough and operates a 2-stream program: one stream is for containers while the second is for paper products and film plastic. The Peterborough plant operates one shift per day, processes approximately 10 tons per hour, and produces an estimated 15,000 MT per year.

According to the team, production of a carton grade is a requirement of the City of Peterborough that has been in place for many years. The MRF was upgraded in 2019, with an estimated $6-8 million in investment in equipment. The process is now all automated through a single, ultramodern Human Machine Interface panel – it takes only the push of a single button to produce a fibre recipe. Fibres and containers are processed on different days, with the system switched accordingly.

In Peterborough, cartons are hand-picked off the container residue line. The team here estimates that approximately 95% of the polycoat bale is made up of cartons, while approximately 4.5% are hot beverage cups.

What the facility lacks in size (the facility is approximately 15,000 square feet), they make up for in innovation. The small footprint inspired the Peterborough team to install a set of ceiling conduits through which materials, including cartons, are air blown to their respective bunkers.

Both the Kingston and Peterborough MRFs demonstrate that even small MRFs can be mighty. In each case, the MRFs have leveraged their expertise, creativity and resources available to them to have a significant, positive impact on the recycling of cartons.

Peterborough MRF Photo Gallery