In the second installment of our #BinHalfFull articles, we explore where the recycling goes.
You have taken the time to sort out all of those recyclables that come into your home. You have rinsed, washed, and squashed. All of these items have been loaded into your vehicle and taken to your local recycling facility. Once you place your items into the appropriate bin, it is out of your hands, but what happens now? Where does it go?
Let’s start with paper. Your paper will be bailed with other paper and taken to a facility where the ink is removed. After the ink is removed, the paper is shredded in a giant blender with water to make it into a pulp. The pulp is cleaned and spun to remove the water. It continues into a press.
There is a limit to how many times paper can be recycled. Once it reaches the point that it can’t be made into paper again, it may become gift wrap, toilet paper, egg cartons or insulation for homes.
To see the whole process in action, check out this video from the UK.
How about plastic? The plastic is taken to a processor, where they sort the plastic by the numbers 1-7. Once sorted, the plastic is shredded, melted, and made into pellets that are sold to the manufacturers to make new products. It could become a bottle, fabric, or lawn furniture. From bottles to new packaging, check out this video.
Glass bottles and jars are collected, cleaned and ground down into a fine sand. They can be added to the concrete manufacturing process or melted into fibre glass or new bottles. Check out this quick video.
And last but not least, we don’t want to forget metals. Once the metal bails arrive at the facility, they are melted down at up to 1500 degrees Celsius. The molten metal is molded into ingots that are sold back to the manufacturers. Those ingots could become a can, foil, or could become part of a construction project. To follow your aluminum can through the recycling system click here.
It is amazing how these items that you have collected in your kitchen or garage can come back to you again in a different form. Keep those recyclables coming and don’t forget to reuse them once or twice, if possible.
How are you at recycling? Share the results with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using #BinHalfFull. You could inspire others to do the same.