Have you ever wondered what happens to the yogurt tub or the cardboard box after you toss it in your commingle cart and haul the cart to the curbside?
Susan Baker from Bend Garbage & Recycling enlightened me regarding the trip the recyclables take after we wave them bye-bye:
The materials are first brought to a baling facility located at Bend Garbage & Recycling (or your local recycling company’s facility). The commingle material is unloaded in the building and placed on a conveyer belt where the material is baled into 1,200-pound bundles.
The commingle material is then taken to a Material Recovery Facility (MRF, pronounced “merf”) in the valley. The materials are placed on a conveyor where workers and machinery sort them. The separation process is quite fascinating – be sure to check out the link for videos at the end of this blog.
The sorted materials such as paper, plastic, cardboard, metals, etc. all end up in separate markets for recycling. Paper is shipped to a mill (for example to a newsprint mill in Oregon or Washington) and the fibers are recycled into paper, metals go to a processing facility and are recycled into new metals, plastics into new plastics/clothes/toys, and so on.
If customers follow the recycling guide, all those materials will be recycled. Trash and other material that cannot be recycled will be sent to the landfill. The more trash and unacceptable materials we throw into our recycling, the more costly the process becomes, and in the end the consumer will pay the price. So pay attention to your recycling guide and educate your family and friends!
Check out these interesting videos that explain how the recycling gets sorted and recycled (compliments of Clark County, Washington): http://www.clark.wa.gov/recycle/recycles/recycling.html