MRF of the Future

After a battery fire destroyed its MRF in York, Pennsylvania, Penn Waste pulled off a rebuild in just under a year and is spreading the message of fire prevention and safety.

Most recyclers agree that fire prevention and safety are among the biggest issues facing the industry today, with more and more fire-hazardous items—particularly batteries—continuously making their way into material recovery facilities (MRFs). Last year, Penn Waste, part of Ontario-based Waste Connections’ family of companies, was faced with the reality all MRF operators fear when it experienced a devastating fire at its facility in York, Pennsylvania. The blaze broke out March 8, 2022, destroying nearly all the equipment and electrical controls throughout the 96,000-square-foot MRF. A rechargeable battery was determined to be the cause. More than 12 local fire departments responded to the fire, which was deemed under control approximately three hours after it sparked. A first responder sustained minor injuries, while the 40 employees inside the MRF at the time were unharmed.

Dynamic Pairings

This article originally appeared in the October 2023 edition of Recycling Today