Running a successful MRF means adapting to a changing stream, investing to upgrade equipment and navigating end market uncertainty. Three prominent MRF leaders recently shared how they’re approaching these challenges.
The 2021 Resource Recycling Conference, held virtually in August, hosted a panel covering current trends in the MRF sector. The session featured Kate Davenport, co-president of Eureka Recycling, Brent Hildebrand, vice president of recycling for GFL Environmental, and Palace Stepps, president of Sonoco Recycling.
During the session, the three shared how they prepared and responded to China’s import restrictions, including Green Fence in 2013, National Sword in 2018 and the country’s import bans that took effect this year.
The experts also described how contract restructuring and rising commodity prices are enabling greater investments in processing system upgrades.
Sonoco Recycling is a hauler and MRF operator that is connected to packaging and industrial products giant Sonoco Products. Stepps said his company had doubts about whether a ban on fiber imports could actually come about in China. Such skepticism was common in 2017, given China’s status as the largest consumer of mixed paper in the world at the time.
“From the paper division standpoint, we didn’t believe that the Chinese could actually follow through …….