Should you be planning for a MRF Performance Audit in 2017?

A MRF study might be the best money you spend all year. But what exactly is a MRF performance audit?

In short… it’s a study to determine how well your facility is functioning. It involves a systematic review of material-flow to identify opportunities to lower operating costs, minimize loss, and improve revenue.

This is a mass balance exercise. The audit starts with emptying conveyor belts and bunkers, then running a representative sample of inbound recyclables through the system to collect and audit materials from each catch point.

Four Reasons you should be conducting an audit if you’re operating a MRF

1. Identifies key areas for improvement

Photo source: Region of Peel

Where possible, equipment and sorting station performance are compared to the manufacturer’s rating, and to what is happening in facilities of similar size, age, and streaming. An audit will note and quantify system deficiencies in terms of missed tonnes and revenue. Equipment is assigned a current value, and its remaining life expectancy determined. Opportunities to reduce downtime and improve operating efficiency and effectiveness are identified and prioritized.

2. Better informs the budgeting process – business case development

An audit will generate multiple improvement scenarios along with their respective costs and potential benefits. Municipalities can then sort through the options and select a course of action with a budget and anticipated return on investment appropriate for the situation. The range of options presented can be used to generate short and long term capital plans.

3. Strengthens internal controls & improves facility management

Key performance indicators are established against which to better monitor operations. For example, looking at the wear & tear of the equipment and cross-referencing this information with maintenance records to verify upkeep, repair and replacement efforts will signal if more management time needs to be dedicated to this important task.

4. Helps you to keep pace with new technology options

Municipalities benefit from their auditor’s knowledge of what equipment is available in the market place as well as its installation costs. This is an important consideration when installation and commissioning aspects of a MRF upgrade may cost as much as or more than the equipment itself.

Peers who have completed MRF performance audits weigh-in

Peel observed significant problems with their fibre screen. Valuable containers were improperly sorted into the paper bunkers resulting in missed revenue opportunities. Making the recommended modifications to the screens will help improve the sorting accuracy. Container tonnes previously lost in the fibre bales will now be properly captured and earn as much as $550,000 in additional annual revenues.

“Having independent verification of the MRF inefficiencies helps build a compelling business case and earn the support you need to make operating improvement and buy new processing equipment.”

Kevin Mehlenbacher, Specialist - Waste Collection and Processing, Region of Peel
Photo source: CIF

On the container line, a new compressor for EWSWA’s dual-eject optical sorter may result in the additional recovery of more than 360 tonnes of PET annually, which could yield about $95,000 in additional revenue.

“Working with knowledgeable equipment evaluators brought to light solutions and options we had never considered.”

Cam Wright, Manager, EWSWA

Want to know more about the audits completed through CIF?

Reports for EWSWA and Hamilton can be found on the CIF’s “Funded Projects” webpage.

Reports for Peel, Waterloo Region, and Bluewater will be published on the CIF report page in the coming months.

For more information, please contact Jessica Landry.