Innovation

Increasing The Amount of Materials Recovered Through Curbside Recycling

The Pacific Northwest Secondary Sorting Demonstration Project (PNW Sort) created six additional streams of recyclables.

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The Pacific Northwest Secondary Sorting Demonstration Project (PNW Sort) was a 60-day recycling demonstration project managed by the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) which involved installing a portable secondary sorting system where selected materials from four regional materials recovery facilities (MRFs) will be further sorted. This innovation helped create six additional streams of recyclables to reduce waste sent to landfills.

Materials recovered in this study included polyethylene, mixed paper, cartons, polypropylene, and PET bottles. The results of PNW Sort suggest that a regional secondary sorting MRF, sized to serve the populations of both Oregon and Washington, would:

  • Increase material recovery or landfill diversion by more than 50,000 tons (100 million pounds) per year, equivalent to 2,500 semi-trailer truckloads of recovered materials bound for recycling facilities.
  • Generate 46 green jobs per MRF.
  • Reduce the generation of greenhouse gases by more than 130,000 tons per year, which is equivalent to taking more than 27,600 cars off the road.

Read all of the results from the project and learn more about the Pacific Northwest Secondary Sorting Demonstration Project on the official website pnwsort.org.

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