Recycling is not an easy thing to do, and its difficulties increase with scale. For large communities and cities, industrial scale recycling operations are required. This further requires the adoption of industrial methods utilizing specialized machinery that can extract specific materials from the wastestream with sufficient capacity to manage incoming waste loads. Technically, the process of recycling MSW presents a series of challenges and problems.
The first is the nature of the material itself. MSW collected at the curbside and hauled by collection trucks to the landfill or material recovery facility (MRF) is extremely heterogeneous with waste materials of all types and characteristics (density, water content, chemical composition, electromagnetic potential, and sizes), mixed and compacted together into a mass that makes separation and extraction inherently difficult.