The world in which we live has gone through many changes. There was a time where vast forests of giant, ancient trees were leveled for their lumber without the slightest thought towards reforestation. Growing up I often heard ad campaigns pleading that you don’t litter and recycle. Under false assumption, I presumed that someone smarter than me had locked down the process and was able to recycle everything thrown into the bins. Apparently there is a lot more that goes into it. We need to do our part to assist with recycling plants to help preserve our natural resources and prevent the landfills from being overpopulated with potentially recyclable material.
The first newspaper recycling program launched in Maryland in the 1970’s. While recycling has come a long way since then, there is still a long way to go with understanding the recycling process and truly playing our part.
Sorting your aluminum, glass, paper and plastic is important. With the approximately 10,000 communities that enjoy curbside recycling, it should be easy to help out. You can do so by sorting and placing recyclables in the appropriate bins rather than allowing them to carelessly make their way to the landfill.
Curbside collection of your recyclables is a convenience that should not be taken for granted. Just think about the people that have to travel several miles to recycle, but still take the time and exert the effort because they care about creating a sustainable ecosystem for future generations.
Once the recyclables are collected, the real work begins.
All that is collected has to be sorted and processed. Properly sorted recyclables will collect greater profits on the open market.
Mounds and mounds of recyclable materials. The foreman oversees the workers.
Human workers remove large objects, trash and plastic bags that can clog the machine. Plastic bags should be recycled in their appropriate containers, often located at supermarkets that you originally received the bags.
Some items cannot be recycled and must be sent to the landfill. Dirty pizza boxes, cans with food in them, and certain plastics (like PVC pipe) are among those that cannot be recycled.
Machines help to sort and bail the recyclables.
Even paper has to be sorted by type, white office paper, newspaper, and magazines, for proper future use. Then, it’s compressed into large bales for easy transport. Once the paper reaches the mill, the used paper is shredded and mixed with water to create a pulp. Then, it’s put through the same process as virgin material to create new office paper, newspaper, toilet paper, or paper towels.
Corrugated cardboard is one of America’s most recycled materials. Over 80 percent actually comes from the landfill. Cardboard goes through similar process to other paper. Then, it almost always gets formed into new cardboard boxes.
Glass is sorted by color, then washed to remove impurities. After being washed, the glass is crushed and sold to companies that melt it down and to manufacture new glass containers.
Click next page to see the rest on the recycling process.
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