Many of us take the time to put reusable items into our yellow recycle bins. Glass, paper, cardboard, aluminium and some plastics can all be recycled and given a new life. Building materials can’t be placed in your regular bins, but when you use a demolition company they may be able to be recycled.
While sorting your waste is a good habit to get into, have you ever wondered what happens once your bin gets emptied by the truck each fortnight?
Where the Recycling Goes
Garbage trucks are sent by the council to come and collect the bins in the neighbourhood. For recyclable waste the truck will usually make its way to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF).
The truck leaves the recycling at the facility and it is transferred to a conveyor belt. It is then ready for the next step, the sorting process.
How Recycling is Sorted
We don’t have different bins for different types of materials, so it needs to be separated. The majority of this happens automatically by clever machines, but human intervention may also be required.
The machines use a variety of methods to sort through the recycling. These may include magnets, blowers, and sifters to minimise the risk of any contaminated materials being mixed with reusable ones. When this process is complete the separated cardboard, plastics, metals, papers, and glass will be squashed and compacted into a cube shape.
What Happens Next
Once items have been sorted and compacted, they can be transported to their next destination. Sometimes there may not be a big demand for certain materials and they will have to wait before being recycled.
Dedicated factories can transform specific products into new ones. For example, glass can be turned into bottles, paper can be made into toilet paper or paper towels, and aluminium can be reused time and time again to create new cans.
It is not uncommon for some of our recycling to be shipped overseas where other countries can take advantage of their components.
What You Can Do
Any items that can’t be recycled will still be sent to landfill and this has a negative impact on the environment. You can save time by being smarter about what you put in the recycling bin, and being more selective about the products you buy.
While we like to think most of the items we place in the bin can be recycled, this isn’t always the case. Whether it is contaminated materials or an overabundance of supply waiting to be recycled, sometimes it can still end up in the wrong place.
For example, avoid putting dirty pizza boxes and soft plastics in the recycling bin as these cannot be rejuvenated. Don’t place items inside bags as these cannot be sorted by the automatic machinery. You can choose to buy recycled products such as toilet paper, and look for items that are packed in minimal plastic.
Remember, putting the right, clean materials in your recycling bin is the first step, but you can do more by minimising your waste. Your “rubbish” could just end up as something new!