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Re: [GreenYes] Single-stream ergonomics
Hi all,

I need to weigh in and support Roger on this.  My 16 years of MRF design and
has always been on a path of greater automation and less manual sorting.
And just in the
last few years, optical sorting technologies have matured to the point that
I see great leaps
forward in the next generation of single-stream facilities that will greatly
reduce the need
for manual sorting.  And before anyone gets upset about losing jobs to
machines, ask
yourself if you would put your kid up there on the line doing that job.
These are not great jobs,
and the potential for repetitive motion injuries is real if someone does the
work for too many
years.  That's another reason why we use all-volunteer, short-term (under
six months) people
("mates") from the County Jail.  They are eager to earn time off from their
sentences, they like
the idea of helping the environment (for many of them they've never touched
the "environmental"
movement) and we've even hired some of them after they get out.  My main
point here is not
about using inmates ... I am just supporting the movement toward automation
and single-stream,
recognizing that producer responsibility with teeth is also essential for
incentivizing industry to
redesign their products and packaging to be less toxic, and more recyclable,
compostable and
re-usable, and, for addressing the "public subsidy" issues that Helen brings

Eric Lombardi

-----Original Message-----
From: Roger Guttentag <>
To: <>
Date: Thursday, April 25, 2002 10:06 PM
Subject: Re: [GreenYes] Single-stream ergonomics

>Going to single stream processing does not necessarily mean that there will
>be more people exposed to repetitive motion injury.  If we are talking
>a system design that is nothing more than a long sorting coneyor belt (and
>those systems unfortunately do exist) with scores of sorters positively
>sorting all materials, then I suppose this situation will occur.  However,
>current single stream system designs that I know about rely heavily on
>mechanized separation systems to make the concept work (e.g. separating
>fiber from non-fiber materials).  Whatever manual sorting is involved is
>either the same as what would be found in two stream sorting systems (e.g.
>positive manual sorting to remove a desired material from the sort line)
>quality control sorting (e.g. catching misses) which should not require as
>many movements per minute (otherwise it wouldn't be QC work).
>It should be noted that certain MRF sorting systems that have been adopted
>within the last 5 - 7 years have actually reduced the amount of manual
>sorting required.  One notable example is the use of star or disc screens
>positively sort OCC from OCC rich loads.  What used to take a team of
>sorters (let's say 6 - 12 laborers) to process a load now requires a
>with one (or two at most)QC sorters.
>Roger M. Guttentag
>----- Original Message -----
>From: Van Calvez <>
>To: <>
>Sent: Thursday, April 25, 2002 7:36 PM
>Subject: Re: [GreenYes] Re: 2002 Recycling Today Paper Recycling Conference
>> Here are 2 more cents on the single stream concept.
>> As an ergonomics professional, I have seen the impacts on having the
>> "professionals" do the work that the individual homeowner could do.  We
>> talking some pretty repetitive jobs here.  This generally spells high
>> of repetive motion injuries (and a crummy job in general).
>> Van Calvez
>> Human Nature Solutions
>> Bainbridge, WA
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