Seeking Recyclable Materials From a Mixed Wastestream

n Part 1 of this series, author Daniel P. Duffy explained the characteristics of municipal solid waste and the potential of extracting recyclable materials from a mixed wastestream. As Duffy wrote in the previous segment:
"Recent advances in recycling technology over time will pay far greater dividends for our environment and our economy. From integrated systems to individual pieces of equipment, recycling has increased in quantity of output, efficiency of production, and quality of final product. While market demand greatly influences which materials get recycled, it is the technology of material separation and sorting that determines how costly and profitable these materials are.
"The questions, then, are these: Can these increases in productivity and efficiency be maintained? Or will they flatten out in the future or even hit a wall where additional improvement are either not possible or cost effective? Will improvements in recycling technology meet a point of diminishing returns, or will they continue in an ever-upward spiral? Will changes in waste extraction methods alter the cost equation, making certain materials more profitable to recycle than others? What does the future hold?"

Author: 
Daniel P. Duffy
Article Source: 
MSW Management