Improving waste and recycling safety in California


GreenWaste is a leading resource recovery and recycling company in the United States and operates one of the largest and most technically advanced Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) in the country.

As a leader in on-site safety, Greenwaste took a proactive stance by initiating a 3-month pilot with SensorZone at the San Jose site in California. The SensorZone system is designed to enhance safety protocols and reduce potential risks on recycling sites by providing real-time alerts of potentially unsafe behaviours. Additionally, using the cloud-based SensorZone Insights Platform, it provides company wide leading indicators so that site safety can be monitored and adapted as needed.

The MRF chosen for the pilot processes 2800 tonnes of recycled material each day, and over 739,000 tonnes per year. This makes it one of the largest in the United States and an excellent testing ground for a new safety system.

The initial pilot ran from May to August 2022, covering 5 machines and 30 workers. This has now been scaled up to a full deployment that covers nearly 100 machines and over 272 workers.


Given the larger number of vehicles temporarily visiting the site, it was key that these vehicles were also part of any safety solution. The SensorZone Portable PWS system gives them the ability to quickly attach and remove a fully functional, battery powered, magnetically mounted Proximity Warning System. This provides the same high reliability detection bubble on all vehicles for as long as they are on the premises.

In order to provide their team with the confidence that the system is operating correctly, GreenWaste fitted Tag Test Units to the main pedestrian entrances of the facility. This means that staff are quickly and easily able to check their tags are functioning correctly at the start of each day, allowing them to work in knowledge that the SensorZone system is helping to protect their safety.


Given the nature of the work conducted at Material Recovery Facilities, machine operators must be particularly aware of any people in the vicinity of their machines. This makes it vital that any incursion into the detection zone is noted by the operator.

Knowing this, we worked alongside GreenWaste to modify the SensorZone system for their site, enabling the in-cab alarm to alert every few seconds whilst someone is present in the zone, providing in a continuous reminder for the driver to take extra care until the area is clear.

The key safety leading indicators vary from industry to industry. Therefore we have also begun customising the SensorZone Insights Platform to provide a more focussed view for the waste and recycling industry. By providing key information such as 'average worker time spent inside a detection zone', we can give a real time snapshot of site safety, and compare this across sites and regions to provide context to the data.

The safety of each person that steps onto our facility is always top of mind. The SensorZone Proximity Warning System and Insights Platform are powerful tools we harness as we strive to make our sites as safe as possible.

Ricky Lopez

VP of MRF Processing at GreenWaste

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