Most of us know the great benefits of recycling. It helps reduce our use of raw materials. It helps to save our resources from being sent to landfills. And it even minimizes damaging greenhouse gases. But what you may not know, is how the entire process works.
This is the Story of Recycling.
In most communities, residents place all of their recyclables into a single container or cart. The recyclables are then collected, mixed in with other recyclables, and then hauled to a local Material Recovery Facility, or MRF.
Once the unsorted resources arrive at the MRF, it is loaded onto a series of conveyers to start the sorting process. First, non-recyclables are removed by hand. Then, the material goes through a series of vibrating screens to isolate the cardboard and paper. From there, different types of paper are sorted by machines, and then hand, until they are baled. Meanwhile, while the paper is carried away, glass falls under the screens into glass crusher. Once crushed, the glass is carried out of the facility on a series of conveyor belts, and is dropped into a bunker or large container outside the MRF. At the same time, the rest of the resources continue along another conveyer belt where steel and tin cans are removed using magnets. Next, optical sorters are used to identify plastic bottles and blow a gust of air to separate them. Lastly, an eddy current isolates the aluminum. Now sorted, the separated materials are baled, and sent to reprocessing facilities.
Paper is sent to a paper mill, where it is pulped, screened, cleaned, spun, pumped, pressed, wound, divided, and packed into reels.
Aluminum is shredded, formed, heated, mixed, cooled, rolled, and ready to be made into more can in as little as six weeks.
And finally, plastic bottles are cleaned, scanned, sorted, shredded, melted, reformed, and remade into into t-shirts, plastic bags, or more bottles.
With the simple flick of a wrist, each item can be recycled and made into brand new products. Helping our economy, our earth, and our communities. So don’t throw away our future.
To learn more about each part of the recycling process, visit ReCommunity.com/Education.