Materials Recovery Facility (MRF)

A Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) is a facility that uses both machines and people to remove and sort recyclables from the waste stream. The Athens MRF is what is known as a mixed-waste MRF and is specifically designed to allow recyclables to be sorted from regular household garbage. Other MRF's are only able to sort recyclables that have already been separated from the waste stream at the point of collection. The Athens MRF was permitted to operate in 1997 and currently processes 1,920 tons per day of trash. The facility removes over three-dozen different types of materials from the waste stream.


A mixed-waste MRF program offers several benefits over source separated recycling (recycling at the curbside or business location). The benefits are:

  • There is no need to have special trucks collect recyclables. This cuts down on air pollution, reduces traffic, and helps prolong the life of our city streets.
  • The MRF provides access to 100% of the city's recyclables (except those that are independently recycled directly by residents and businesses). This means that the city does not have to rely on the sorting efforts of its residents and businesses to make sure it remains in compliance with the state's 50% waste diversion mandate.
  • The program is much easier for residents and businesses because they don't have to sort.
  • The program allows businesses and apartment complexes with limited space for separate recycling containers to ensure that their materials get recycled.
  • The MRF program allows residents and businesses to continue to independently recycle materials if they so desire.

Additional Information

If you want to take a tour of the MRF or have questions, please call Athens Services at 888-336-6100. The MRF is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Also, you may view the process of sorting recyclables online.