The first step for all types of recycling starts with us. We are the key contributors to the waste crisis but also the most important link to achieving a zero waste world. Getting recycling materials to the recycling centers is the most crucial step of recycling. It’s everyone’s responsibility to use the recycling systems that are accessible to them at home and work!
Let’s look at what happens when a glass bottle gets recycled.
The main components of glass are sand, soda ash and limestone, making it one of the easiest and most sustainable materials to recycle.
First, the beverage is gratefully removed from the bottle by its current owner. That person puts the empty bottle in his or her municipal recycling bin, or brings it to the recycling transfer station.
From there, the bottle is sorted by color at the recycling center. It is then transported to a processing facility. At this stage, the glass is cleaned and crushed into small pieces, which is known as a cullet.
Next, the cullet is mixed in with more sand, limestone or soda ash and then heated until it liquefies. Now, the liquid can be put into different molds and be ready to act as a new bottle!
Lets follow a newspaper through the recycling process.
Around half of the paper we use has been recycled at one point. Paper is made of little fibers, but eventually these fibers become weak and can’t be used to make new paper products. Still, when you are asked “paper or plastic?” always pick paper!
So, it’s Sunday and I just finished reading the paper. Instead of just tossing it or letting it sit on my kitchen counter for weeks, I put it in the recycling bin.
From there, the newspaper is first sent to a facility where it is soaked in chemicals to separate the ink from the paper. Next it is goes through another stage of cleaning to remove any remaining ink or debris from my morning breakfast.
After these stages, the paper forms into pulp and is it refined and ready to become paper again! Then machines form sheets that are rolled and dried and now ready for reuse!
You can also find in the streets and public places our recycling trashcans. Be sure to place the trash in the correct bin!