Georgia-Pacific (GP), Atlanta, began operations at its GP Toledo Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Toledo, Oregon. MRF applied GP’s Juno technology, designed to recycle recovered fibers and highly contaminated mixed materials.
Christer Henriksson, president of Juno Technology at Georgia-Pacific, said GP has been driving Juno since 2013 at a plant in Savannah, Ga., And began construction on its MRF in Toledo about two years ago.
“The pilot plant was used to prove our concept of recycling municipal solid waste, commonly referred to as MSW,” he says. “This MSW is going to landfills today. We have tested hundreds of different types of DSM: airport waste, Class A office building waste, theme park waste, sports stadium waste. It was about understanding the different types of waste. The lessons learned from the pilot plant allowed us to find the necessary patents for Juno technology and to design and develop a commercial plant in Toledo.
Henriksson says construction was taking place amid the pandemic, which he adds was not easy. The wildfires on the west coast also made it a bit difficult to get started. Despite the challenges, he says construction was completed on time in the spring of 2021.
As of May, the Toledo MRF has been operational and is processing commercial MSWs from accounts throughout Oregon. Henriksson says the plant has the capacity to process around 100,000 tonnes of material per year and has the potential to recycle up to 90 percent of all material that goes into the FRM.
An automated process
The GP Toledo MRF processes differ a bit from those of a traditional single-stream MRF. On the one hand, the MRF is very automated. Henriksson says the company only needs 10 employees to operate the plant, which operates 24/7.
He adds that the facility uses a technology called “autoclaving,” which is typically used by hospitals to sterilize waste. “We use this technology to cook and sanitize incoming waste,” he says.
After the autoclave, separation technologies sort the materials into different product streams, such as paper, plastics and metals. Henriksson says all the recovered fibrous materials will be consumed by GP’s containerboard factory in Toledo, which is located next to the MRF. He says the fiber will be used to make linerboard for the corrugated boxes. Other items, such as metals and plastics, are sold in their respective markets.
Henriksson says about 10 percent of the DSMs that cannot be collected at the Toledo MRF go to landfill. This includes materials such as glass, dirt, and fines that cannot be captured.
GP has announced plans to build more factories incorporating its Juno technology around the world. Henriksson says the company is looking to add a second MRF using Juno technology in the northeast United States, a third MRF using the technology in Europe, and a fourth location using the technology in Asia. “We plan to start engineering the next two sites before the end of this year,” he says.
Henriksson adds that he does not envision that GP’s Juno technology will ever replace MRFs; rather, he says, the goal is to reduce what goes to landfill.
“[Juno] is disruptive technology for the landfill industry, ”he says. “We see that there is a lot of demand because it is very difficult to build new landfills. People carry their DSMs a long way to get to landfills, as they are usually not located near cities. But future Juno factories will be built near places of waste production, such as large cities. As we reveal this technology globally, we will be working with municipalities that have a similar mission to protect the environment. ”