Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Cycle of Recycling

From NC's Recycle More Campaign.  Visit  to learn more.

There are 3 steps to Recycling:  Collection, Processing and Buying Recycled Goods.

Recycling Cycle

1. Common items collected for recycling
  • Aluminum cans
  • Clear, green, blue and brown glass
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Newspaper and glossy advertising inserts
  • Plastic bottles that have a neck smaller than the base
  • Steel or tin cans
2. Processing
  • If your recyclable material is collected all mixed together (commingled), it is taken to a recycling plant where it is separated
  • First, the newspaper and cardboard are separated from other recyclables using a sticky conveyor belt
  • Next, a magnet separates the steel cans
  • Aluminum cans are separated from other recyclables by an eddy current (a reverse magnet)
Here is where the magic happens
  • Once the material is separated, it is sent to other factories to be made into new products.
  • Newspaper and cardboard are shredded, pulped, dried and flattened into new rolls of paper
  • The steel and aluminum cans are crushed, melted, and flattened into sheets of metal.
  • The glass pieces are crushed, melted and remolded into new bottles or jars
  • Plastic bottles are chipped, melted, and remolded
It is also important to buy recycled goods when available.
  • You can buy school supplies made from recycled materials such as backpacks and rulers made from recycled plastic.
  • aluminum cans can be remade into new cans, they can also become lawn furniture or gutters.
  • Corrugated cardboard and newspaper can become pens, pencils, paper, cereal boxes or insulation.
  • Glass can be recycled into new bottles, jars or even tiles.
  • Plastic bottles can be made into new soda bottles, picnic tables, carpet and clothing.
  • Steel cans can be made into bikes, nails or even cars.
  • Tires can be made into bulletin boards, floor mats, mulch, soaker hoses or shoe soles.

Home Electronics Disposal