Behind the Scenes at Westchester’s Surprisingly Impressive Material Recovery Facility

Take a tour—without the smell.



Whether you’ve driven on I-87, shopped at Stew Leonard’s, or spent the day at Ridge Hill, you’ve seen the Westchester County Material Recovery Facility (you know, that slate-gray building across the highway from Home Depot). And, if you’re anything like us, you've probably wondered exactly what goes on inside of it. 

So we went for a guided tour of the MRF, which has been recycling our trash since 1992, and learned some interesting tidbits along the way—like how cardboard milk containers are not recyclable, and how, if you throw something out accidentally, there’s an 80-percent chance you can track the truck down and find the item in time. Little did we know that housed inside that building—besides the repugnant smell that greets you upon entry—was tons of trash (75,000 tons per year, to be exact) from 90 percent of the County population; a multi-storied conveyor-belt system for sorting through the recyclables; and a learning center that hosts 6,000 school-age children per year.

Take a tour of your own—sans smell—with the photos that follow.