Operadora de Ferrocarril y Manejo de Rellenos (OFMRS), Morelos, Mexico, has partnered with Germany-based Stadler to develop a municipal solid waste (MSW) plant in the city of Cuautla in Morelos. The plant will manage comprehensive waste treatment for 16 municipalities in Morelos and a small part of Mexico City.
“This project was born of the vision shared by OFMRS and Stadler on waste management,” says Natalya Duarte, sales manager for Mexico at Stadler. “This vision has led to a technological proposal and the development of a new operating model. The aim was to recover different types of recyclable packaging and materials and redistribute them back into various production chains as many times as possible. This innovative business and management model makes such projects feasible as well as making them more profitable due to the highly efficient sorting process and high purity levels of the materials.”
Crisóforo Arroyo, general manager for La Perseverancia landfill, says OFMRS’ partnership with Stadler was based on the project’s sustainability aspects. “This new plant fulfills our objectives on many levels—generating a purer biogas; reducing the carbon footprint; strategic alliances with firms that recycle and transform recycled input materials into green packaging; redistribution of recycled input materials within a circular economy; and the creation of shared value based on sustainability and quality,” he says.
According to a news release from Stadler on this project, some points that set OFMRS apart from other businesses are its high degree of automation, its ability to sort by type of polymer and color and its management model. With facilities spanning 3,800 square meters (or about 41,000 square feet) and providing a maximum output of 640 to 700 metric tons per day, OFMRS sorts, classifies, compacts and commercializes MSW, recovering materials including cardboard, paper, carton packaging, plastic, glass, ferrous and nonferrous materials. Biogas is also recovered from organic waste and is fed to two Guascorde 1-megawatt power generators with a power output of 2 megawatts. According to Stadler, that energy generated is supplied to two companies in the state through the power supply network owned by state-owned power utility CFE.
The plant’s automated closed-loop system has 10 machines and 35 recirculating conveyor belts. Stadler reports that the facility’s process starts with receiving the MSW, which then goes through several processing stages, including the removal of nonrecoverable waste. The material is then sorted into three groups: fine, metal and organic waste, which is sent to a reject container; flat or 2D waste (such as cardboard, paper, plastic wrap and carton packaging); and bottled or 3D waste (such as polyethylene terephthalate, high-density polyethylene, polypropylene, carton packaging and aluminum). The conveyor belt feeds the material into the compactor and the final product is prepared: recoverable waste bundles of cardboard, paper, plastic wrap, carton packaging, PET, HDPE, PP and aluminum.
“This is the first project in Mexico that involves different parties in the recycling chain with the aim of protecting the environment,” Duarte says. “It is also the first national project that sets out to industrialize and professionalize the process, seeking the highest efficiency and purity levels and adhering to the strictest quality standards, including ISO.”
OFMRS says the adoption of Stadler’s technology has helped it to have more sustainable operations. “By recovering waste in this way, the consumption of natural resources, water, and energy is reduced,” the company says.