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Home > Garbage and Recycling > Processing Recyclable Materials  

Garbage and Recycling: Processing Recyclable Materials


Everyone who wants to recycle, should do it properly. Here are some tips and tricks to help make sure it is done right.


Ever wonder if that pop can or water bottle you drop in a bin actually gets recycled? The answer is, probably. Some recyclers are very particular about how they want to receive the material. Sometimes they will even throw away a recyclable because it is in the wrong form.
     Recyclers do not have it easy. The markets they deal with are in a constant state of flux and there is not a lot of money in recyclables. Therefore, they do not have infinite resources to sort through each recyclable that comes in. Usually, they have a split second to determine recyclability. So it should be right when it comes in.

Many plastic containers have one of those little symbols on the bottom telling what kind of plastic it isplastic symbol. See our guide. If a recycler only takes certain kinds of plastic you should check for that symbol before you put it into the bin. If you do not know what kinds, it is a safe bet that they at least take No. 1 and No. 2 plastic.
    Usually, lids will not have that symbol. If you are unsure just throw it out. No recycler is going to take the time to remove the lid, they will just throw the whole thing out.
     Rinse the item out if you can but you do not need to send it through a completely cycle of the dishwasher. Many plastic recycling processes have a cleaning step.

glass bottles There are many types of glass out there. For recycling we are usually talking about the common bottle and jar, which usually come in clear, green and brown. However, drinking glasses, widows, light bulbs, and other types of glass may also be recycled.
     The processing of glass usually depends on what the recycler intends to do with the glass. If it is to be re-melted, the recycler will have you separate the glass by chemistry and color. If the intent is not to re-melt (crushed aggregate or some other use) the recycler will have you just throw everything together into one bin.
     The uses will not be too sensitive to dirt and grease so a quick rinse of your glass items should be more than enough. Some states have a nickel recycling fee, so those bottles should be in tact when brought in.
Paper Products:
paper bails Clean and dry should be your mantra when recycling paper products. The process to recycle paper is somewhat cold compared to other methods. Therefore, oils, food and dirt will not just simply burn or wash off the wood fiber.
     Remove air, staples and tape. If trucks come by to pick up your paper products flatten them. A truck hauling corrugated will fill up quickly if all of the boxes are in tact. For businesses, this may mean a little extra (5-10 min) labor each day. However, for most businesses, this does not translate into more than 1 man-hour per week.
     Sometimes, certain types of paper needs to be in bundles or paper grocery bags (not plastic). Throw away any paper product that has mildew. 

Tin Cans:
tin can Tin cans are actually steel but got the name because they have a Tin coating. The process to recycle them is to re-melt them into new cans. That is a much warmer process than some. Therefore, all the excess food, paper and clue will just burn away when re-melted.
     However, you can take the paper label off and put it with your "mixed paper". We recommend a light rinse just after you empty it and just throw it into the bin. The cans that have a white coating on the inside are usually taken by recyclers as well.

More Coming Soon:

Check out our videos about processing recyclables.

Find a recycler in your area.


Items in our "Waste and Recycling" section.

  • Recycle Centers:
    Home Recycling ________________
  • Composters:
    Home Recycling ________________
  • Vermicomposters:
    Home Recycling ________________
  • Garbage Bags:
    Home Recycling ________________
  • Recycle Kits:
    Home Recycling ________________




http://www.afandpa.org/PaperRecycling.aspx, paper recycling, taken 3/18/12

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass_recycling. glass recycling, taken 3/18/12