What Your Recycling Becomes

Recycling is beneficial to the environment in many ways. Recycling can reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators, conserve natural resources, increase economic security, prevent pollution, save energy, and support American manufacturing and help create jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries in the United States. Most importantly by reducing the amount of waste, all recycled materials can become new useable materials.

Your daily newspapers might become part of the next edition, but they could also come back as egg or berry cartons, paper plates, construction paper, a phone book — or even kitty litter or sheetrock. Re- cycled cardboard is processed into more cardboard, paper towel rolls and even paper backing for roof shingles. The cardboard boxes you recycle reincarnate as paper bags, cardboard packaging and new cardboard boxes. Toilet paper, facial tissue, paper towels and napkins are often the product of recycled notebook and computer paper. 

Recycled PET bottles can be turned into new containers for beverages, salad dressing and household cleaning products. Many of the large beverage producers are now producing PET bottles with increasing amounts of recycled PET – even up to 100 per cent recycled content! It can also become the fabric in your clothes, the fiberfill in your coat, and the upholstery and carpeting around your house. In fact, recycling just five two liter bottles can produce enough polyester for a square yard of carpet. Recycled HDPE is turned into sturdier products like plastic lumber, patio furniture, roadside curbs, benches and truck cargo liners. It’s also used to make recycling bins – talk about full circle! 

What about caps and lids? They need to go in the garbage because they are usually made from a different resin. Too many caps in a bale of plastic can make the whole bale worthless. 

Like aluminum, glass can be recycled indefinitely. Manufacturing recycled glass into new bottles or jars uses fewer resources than starting from scratch. Processing facilities usually melt glass in order to mold new containers, but the jam jar you sent to the curb might also be crushed into cullet, or small shards. Because cullet has smooth edges, it is ideal for making bricks, paved surfaces and sports turf . 

Most recycled aluminum is used to make new cans. From the time a can arrives in a recycling facility, it takes just 60 days to melt it down, turn it into a new can, fill it with a new beverage and place it back on store shelves. Recycled cans are also used to make airplane parts, building facades and bicycles. 

It is very important to recycle so that these materials can be put to better use as reusable materials, therefore reducing waste.


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