By Jeff Eriks and Evan Williams, Cambridge Companies
October 30, 2021
Building a Successful MRF
Determining modifications when taking over an existing facility in order to convert it to a new MRF.
Converting an existing facility into a new Material Recovery Facility (MRF) or transfer station is never easy. There will always be compromises made between ideal conditions versus what can work due to cost considerations in various spaces throughout that are not an issue with a new building.
One of the biggest challenges in converting an existing building is that it is hard to find existing buildings that are zoned properly for these uses. In addition, most existing buildings are not compatible with these uses, often having rooflines that are much too low, column grids that are too restrictive, or sites that are too small.
Step 1: Clearly Define Your End Goal
With a processing facility, you need to clearly define the goals for the facility. For instance, what are your material throughput requirements? What is the material composition? What are your output requirements? Who will supply the equipment? How will traffic flow? How much onsite trailer parking do you need? The list goes on and on. All of this information needs to be documented in a detailed plan for execution before you can properly evaluate different properties/existing buildings to determine which ones suit your needs.
Ideally, you will rank your programming/goals document in Must Have and Nice to Have categories. For example, you could note that you must have 20,000 square feet of tipping floor with 25′ clear to the ceiling structure, but it would be nice to have 25,000 square feet with 30′ clear. That helps inform the property search and selection process.