NWRA Announces 2021 Recycling Awards Recipients

NWRA Announces 2021 Recycling Awards Recipients

Arlington, VA – The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) announced its 2021 Recycling Awards recipients, recognizing innovators and leaders in its industry. Awards in three categories were given to companies that have made substantial contributions to U.S. recycling through partnerships, public education, and innovations in recycling facilities. Winners were selected by a panel of judges who are professionals in the waste and recycling industry and from other technology and education organizations.

“These awards honor the very best in the industry for excellence in creating innovative approaches to advance our work and constructing state-of-the-art recycling solutions that help protect the environment,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith. “Our industry continues to make great strides in safety and engineering, which yields better results for the environment and the communities we serve.”

The 2021 Recycling Facility of the Year Award was shared by the Waste Management Hodgkins Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and the Mazza Materials Recovery Facility. Waste Management’s Hodgkins MRF is a highly automated facility that processes 66 tons per hour, known as Waste Management’s “MRF of the Future,” this is WM’s largest Recycling Facility. Control rooms at the MRF monitor processing equipment and the performance of optical sorters to provide a better understanding of what is happening in the plant from a centralized area. Waste Management believes its MRF of the Future will set the stage for future investments in residential recycling.

Mazza’s single-stream MRF was built in 2020 and designed to process 26 tons per hour. Today, the MRF handles 35 tons per hour and processes single-stream recyclables from 880,000 residents. The facility features the latest technological advancements and sorting equipment to produce cleaner commodities. The system is the only one of its kind on the East Coast.

The 2021 Organics Recycler of the Year Award went to Waste Management. Waste Management’s current organics recycling program manages more than 3.5 million tons of material annually across 44 organics recycling facilities in the U.S., including 38 mulch and composting operations, four CORe® food waste processing plants, and two new advanced facilities that employ state-of-the-art technologies to extract organics from the waste stream.

Waste Management’s organics recycling program focuses on advancing the industry to meet the sustainability demands of the communities and commercial and industrial customers the company serves. Waste Management’s CORe® is a patented, state-of-the-art process that offers a local, urban solution for food materials

The 2021 Innovator of the Year Award went to AMP Robotics. AMP Robotics’ artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics technology are helping the waste industry combat challenges by modernizing recycling—improving material quality, ensuring worker safety, increasing productivity, lowering costs, diverting waste from landfills, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions—while increasing overall rates of resource recovery.

The company recently debuted AMP Clarity, an AI-powered material characterization software solution that enables the recognition and classification of recyclables that flow through different recovery stages of the recycling process. This latest industry innovation serves as a breakthrough in the effort toward providing measurable transparency on the recyclables captured and missed during different recycling processes and confirming the composition of recovered material bales destined for resale to end markets in the supply chain. AMP Clarity can also help producer initiatives increase recycling rates and create new value streams for recyclables, ultimately aiding their pursuit of recycled content goals.

“I congratulate all our winners on their outstanding achievements and contributions. It is important we recognize the good work our industry is doing to make our communities better,” said Smith.


The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) represents the private sector waste and recycling services industry. Association members conduct business in all 50 states and include companies that manage waste, recycling and medical waste, equipment manufacturers and distributors, and various other service providers. For more information about NWRA, please visit www.wasterecycling.org.

Brandon Wright
National Waste and Recycling Association