Paloma’s paper has a dual focus on two of the challenges faced by MRFs today:

  1. The challenges associated with efficiency, waste composition variation and waste sampling methods.
  2. Optimisation of plant functions, given operations, legislative and stakeholder pressures and the economy.

Through exploration of these challenges, the research interrogates as to whether improvements in mechanical sorting processes will affect the impact on recycling rates, including purity, recovery, cost and profitability?

It asks this question in the context of innovative intelligent technologies and the emergence of their role in future-proofing MRFs.

Paloma concludes by asserting the vision for the modern MRF: a wholly connected facility, operating as one integrated system in which the machines communicate with one another in order to adapt to the materials approaching them.

Therefore, Machine C would adapt the variables of its features based on the information it receives from Machine A and Machine B about the conditions of incoming material, in order to be optimised accordingly.

Overall, to maximise efficiency from an end-to-end sorting process, the efficiency and intelligence of each sorting technology must be lent to his peers, in order to create a collective, harmonious orchestra. Only by equipping subsequent machines to anticipate material features learnt by his predecessors earlier in the process, can a modern MRF deem their sorting process entirely efficient.